Do I need to probate my spouse’s will? We owned everything jointly, except our home.

My wife died. We held all our property and accounts jointly, except our home. That was in her name only. Do I have to apply for probate? Her will named me as executor and left everything to me.



Maple Ridge, BC

Probate is a legal process that confirms a will is legally valid. It allows banks and others to know they’re handing the deceased’s assets over to the right people. 

That said, not all wills need to be probated. It depends on a few factors. 

One is the way the deceased owned their assets. Any assets they owned jointly with others usually pass directly to the surviving joint owner(s). This property isn’t included in the deceased’s estate. It’s said to pass outside the will. So a grant of probate isn’t needed to deal with the property you owned jointly with your wife. 

However, as your wife owned your home in her name alone, it forms part of her estate. For real property owned by the deceased other than in joint tenancy, the land title office will require a grant of probate. They’ll insist on this proof before they transfer title to the home to anyone, including you in your role as executor. So you’ll need to probate your wife’s will. Here is a step-by-step guide on applying for probate

Katrina Law

Katrina Law

Westcoast Wills & Estates
  • This information applies to British Columbia, Canada
  • Reviewed for legal accuracy in October 2023

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