On June 15, 2022, the Government of Alberta launched the Surrogate Digital Service (SDS) and amended Alberta’s Surrogate Rules in an effort to reform the Grant Application process. New surrogate forms, now called GA forms, were also introduced, and replaced the previous NC forms.

Currently, the SDS is only available for Applications for a Grant of Probate that meets very specific criteria. If your circumstances do not meet the criteria, we will be unable to apply through the SDS service and instead will be required to us the new GA forms and submit a hard copy to the Court. By September 13, 2022, counsel will have the ability to file all Grant Applications using the SDS.

The SDS process will allow counsel to submit Applications through an online portal. Previously, all Grant Applications had to be submitted as hard copies to the Court. The new process is meant to increase access to justice and address current inefficiencies by allowing Applications to be completed, submitted, and approved online.

Notable changes for clients to recognize include:

  • An e-mail is required for both the Applicant and for the beneficiaries. The online process no longer requires Applicants and beneficiaries to provide signatures. Instead, the Applicant must certify the Application and beneficiaries must acknowledge receipt of the Application through a link sent to their e-mails.
  • For Applications for Grants of Probate, an Original Will is still required to be sent down to the Surrogate Desk. Only upon receipt and review of the Original Will can a Grant be issued.
  • A death certificate must now be provided to be uploaded to the SDS or sent down to court with the GA forms. Previously death certificates were not required documentation for the application process.
  • For applications submitted through the SDS process, the court will no longer be generating Grants as previously seen. Instead, the SDS process results in the issuance of a digital grant. The digital grant is a one-page document that contains a certification from the Clerk of Court as well as a digital stamp with the issuance date.

We are excited about the new SDS process and believe it will help address the current inefficiencies and backlog the surrogate system has been experiencing. As with the implementation of any new system or processes there are some issues that are being worked out, and we are learning as we move through the process as well!