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Common Questions

How do I know if a will has been probated?
Last reviewed in February 2023 by the Clicklaw Editors.

After the will-maker dies, the Executor will usually apply for probate with the Probate Registry of the Supreme Court. See also “I am the executor of my mother's will and am doing the work myself.”

You can do an eSearch to find out if a probate file has been opened in British Columbia. Anyone with (1) internet access and (2) a credit card or BC Online account can use eSearch services. If your search shows that a probate file exists, you can 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?"

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

Need more help?

  • Courthouse Libraries BC provides legal research assistance and access to the library collections via a network of libraries in BC courthouses.
  • Lawyer Referral Service, from Access Pro Bono, 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 an agreeable rate of charge.
  • Find more help near you on Clicklaw HelpMap.

See our related common questions:

Some quick definitions:

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 (land, personal items, etc. that the will-maker owned at time of death). If the estate includes things like real estate that is not jointly owned, the executor will have to apply for Probate.

 is a way of getting the court to say a will is legally valid. This involves filling out the necessary forms and submitting them to the Probate Registry of any Supreme Court in BC.
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