Common Questions

How do I know if a will has been probated?
After the will-maker dies, the Executor will usually apply for probate with the Probate Registry of the Supreme Court: See Common Question “I am the executor 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. The Vancouver Public Library owns microfilm indexes to all probated BC wills between 1861-1981, and the Cloverdale Branch of the Surrey Public Library has probated BC wills from 1861-1981 on microfilm.

Need more help?

  • If you have more questions or need further help, for example—please see the Get Help services that are available via the Courthouse Libraries BC Wills Resources page.
  • Wills & Estates Q&A, from People's Law School, is a resource where volunteer legal professionals provide answers to questions from the public relating to wills and estates. If you still can't find the answer, they give an option to submit your own question; every effort is made to provide an initial response within 2 business days and a fuller response within 2 weeks. 
  • Lawyer Referral Service, from the Canadian Bar Association BC Branch, offers an initial consultation of up to 30 minutes with a lawyer for $25.
  • 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.
Last reviewed November 2017
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