How do I know if a will has been probated?

Last reviewed May 2024 by the Clicklaw editors

Probate is a way of getting the court to say a will is legally valid. The executor is the person named in the will to carry out the will maker’s instructions. For example, the executor distributes property in the estate, such as land and personal items the will maker owned at the time of death. If the estate includes things like real estate that is not jointly owned, the executor will have to apply for probate. This involves filling out the necessary forms and submitting them to the Probate Registry of any Supreme Court in BC. 

You can do an eSearch on Court Services Online to find out if a probate file has been opened in BC. See also our common question “How do I apply for probate?

How do I do an eSearch? 

To use eSearch services, you need internet access and a credit card or BC Online account. If your search shows that a probate file exists, contact the appropriate Supreme Court Registry to find out if they have the will and what the cost is for getting a copy of the will and/or the probate papers. Read more about the eSearch service here, under the heading “Are Wills available online?” 

Older wills 

Wills probated in BC between 1861 and 1980 are available at the BC archives in Victoria — see their research guide (PDF). The Vancouver Public Library owns microfilm indexes to all probated BC wills between 1861 and 1981. Surrey Libraries’ Cloverdale Branch also has probated BC wills between 1861⁠ and 1981 on microfilm. 

Helpful services 

  • Locations and Contact Information (Courthouse Libraries BC): We provide legal research, assistance, and access to the library collections via a network of libraries in BC courthouses. 
  • Lawyer Referral Service (Access Pro Bono): This service offers a free, brief initial consultation with a lawyer to determine your legal needs. If you would like further help from your lawyer, you can retain them at a rate you both agree to.
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