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In This Volume

Part 5 of the Act (ss. 33 to 55) deals with the appointment of official administrators. Under s. 34, the Lieutenant Governor in Council may appoint the Public Guardian and Trustee or another person to act as an official administrator for all or a specified part of British Columbia, and each official administrator is a corporation sole with an official seal. An official administrator may in turn appoint one or more deputy official administrators in accordance with s. 35, or may delegate a power, duty, or function of the official administrator to any person under s. 36.

In accordance with s. 40 of the Act, the official administrator must apply for a grant of administration of a deceased’s estate in circumstances where at the time of death, the deceased resided in British Columbia or had real or personal estate in the province, and the person died intestate as to the whole or a portion of the person’s estate, or leaving a will, but without having appointed an executor willing and competent to take out letters probate.

The official administrator may also make an application if the executor named by a deceased is resident out of British Columbia at the time of the deceased’s death.

The court will not make a grant of administration unless the deceased has no relatives in British Columbia entitled to share in the distribution of the estate of the deceased and ready and competent to take out letters of administration, or unless the relatives renounce or request that an administrator be appointed.

If administration of an estate is granted to an official administrator, the official administrator has the rights, duties, and liabilities of an administrator with regard to the estate of the deceased and must hold the estate of the deceased on trust to lease or sell, call in, and convert the same into money in accordance with s. 42. In exercising the power of sale conferred by s. 42, the official administrator may mortgage all or a part of the property of the deceased. Furthermore, an official administrator may distribute all or part of the estate to the heirs of the deceased in specie.

If an official administrator dies, resigns, or is removed, s. 38 provides that the person’s successor in office, immediately on appointment and by virtue of it, becomes administrator of the estate of every deceased person that has been left unadministered by the former official administrator, and that all the estate vested in the former official administrator immediately vests in the successor.