With all this talk about probate and avoiding probate, it's important to have the facts. I'm often asked what probate costs. I know the people who ask me that would love a really short answer, such as "it costs $100", but realistically that short answer doesn't exist. What probate will cost depends on where in Canada you live, and what assets are in the estate.
When we talk about the cost of probate, strictly speaking the answer should be about what the court will charge you to process the probate application. To me, though that answer is essential, it's not the whole picture. The other half of the picture is the fee charged by the lawyer. In this post I'll look at both.
First of all, court fees (otherwise known as probate fees). If you apply for probate, there is no way to avoid paying a fee, even if you don't use a lawyer. Each province and territory is different and this is a link to a table that summarizes the fees in each area. There is no fee or a very low fee for estates under $10,000, or in some places even $25,000. The areas of Canada that have a maximum fee are Alberta ($400) and Quebec ($100). In every other province and territory, the fee continues to increase as the size of the estate increases and there is no upper limit. This is one of the main reasons individuals like to do estate planning - they'd rather arrange things so that the money ends up with their families and not the "taxman".
Secondly, lawyer's fees. Again, they change from one place to another. The following are some links to information on specific provinces and territories: