How to Calculate Probate Fees in British Columbia

There are currently no probate fees payable to the B.C. Supreme Court Registry for estates with a value of less than $25,000.  A formula is set out in the Supreme Court Civil Rules to determine the probate fees for estates with gross values over $25,000.  Probate fees in B.C., unlike some other provinces, are a percentage of the estate and can be relatively high.  The probate fee is the rate in effect when the grant of probate is issued.

Here is a summary of the formula for calculating probate fees:

  • Estate worth less than $25,000 - no fee
  • Estate worth over $25,000 - basic fee of $200
  • Estate worth between $25,000 and $50,000 - basic fee of $200 and $6 for every $1,000
  • Estate worth over $50,000 - $14 for every $1,000 of the estate value over $50,000

How do you determine the “value of the estate” for the purposes of calculating the probate fees?  Probate fees are payable on real and tangible personal property of the deceased located in B.C. and intangible personal property, wherever located, that passes to the personal representative (executor/administrator) at the date of death.  The difference is that probate fees are payable on real and tangible personal property in B.C. regardless of where the deceased resided.  Whereas, probate fees are only payable on intangible assets if the deceased was ordinarily resident in B.C.  Real and tangible personal property physically located outside of B.C. are not subject to probate fees.

Here are definitions and some examples of real, tangible and intangible personal property:

  • Real property: any estate or interest in land, buildings, improvements, and fixtures.   
  • Tangible personal property: movable property that has physical attributes and includes vehicles, boats, jewellery, furniture and coin collections.  
  • Intangible personal property: bank accounts, insurance policies, securities, interests in businesses, trusts, etc.

The B.C. Supreme Court Registry calculates the probate fee using the gross values of the estate assets deposed to in the affidavit of the personal representative submitted with the probate application.  For example, for an estate valued at $1,225,700, the total fees would be calculated as follows:

Basic Fee                                                      $200
Probate Fees            
($50,000 - $25,000) ÷ 1,000 x $6       =     $150
($1,226,000 - $50,000) ÷ 1,000 x $14=     $16,464

Total                                                               $16,814

There is also a shorter way to determine the total fees.  You round the value of the estate up to the next $1,000 as we did above ($1,225,700 to $1,226,000), multiply the result by 0.014 and subtract $350.

$1,226,000 x 0.014 - $350 = $16,814

Given the relatively high probate fees for large estates in B.C., it is important for an estate plan to be properly set up so as to reduce these fees as much as possible.