Practice Areas

Probate and Estates

Are you an executor? Do you have questions about your role or about probate? We can help. Some of your questions about Manitoba Probate and Estates Law may be answered in our video series below. Or, you can contact us today. 

Contact Us

Practice Areas

Probate and Estates

Are you an executor? Do you have questions about your role or about probate? We can help. Some of your questions about Manitoba Probate and Estates Law may be answered in our video series below. Or, you can contact us today. 

Contact Us

Practice Areas

Probate and Estates

We’re not your typical law firm. Our focus is on helping families and small businesses with many of the most common legal situations they face. We listen. We give good advice. And we take time to ensure you understand your legal standing. 

Contact Us

Are you an executor? Do you have questions about your role or about probate? We can help. Some of your questions about Manitoba Probate and Estates Law may be answered in our video series below. Or, you can contact us today. 

Probate & Estates Video Series

I've been named executor, what now?

A loved one has passed away, and you have been named executor. What now? As executor, you have several responsibilities, including obtaining a grant of probate from the courts. 

We offer a free step-by-step guide to assist you. We hope you find this information helpful during this difficult time.

What is probate?

It depends who you ask. Wikipedia defines probate as a court process that proves a will. However, in Manitoba, the Wills Act establishes the criteria for a valid will. If the Will is valid, then it doesn’t need a process to prove it.
I prefer to think of probate as a legal process where third parties (like banks and credit unions) can rely on a grant of probate for protection. The granting of probate by the court is the first step in the legal process of administering an estate. Once probate is granted, the executor can enforce the Will.

Is probate necessary?

No. Probate is not always required. As long as a Will meets the requirements of the Wills Act, it is valid. Probate is only necessary when an institution holding the assets of a deceased asks for a "grant of probate" or "letters of probate."

Probate is always required if the deceased owned real property (a house, cottage, vacant land, commercial property, rentals, condo or agricultural land) in his or her own name.

When is probate necessary?

Third parties who hold the deceased's assets (like banks or credit unions) will require some kind of protection before they let someone who claims to be executor access those assets. 

For example, someone names a nephew in Halifax as executor and leaves all of his or her belongings to him. After the testator's death, the nephew shows up at the bank in Winnipeg with a copy of the Will and asks for a bank draft for all the money in the testator's bank account, being approximately $57,000. The bank representatives would justifiably be concerned about fraud. How do they know that the Will is valid?

The bank will ask the executor to obtain a grant of probate, which is essentially a certificate from the court "probating" the will. The bank will then be able to rely on that document. If someone comes along later claiming fraud, the bank will not be responsible.

What happens when someone dies without a Will?

Someone who dies without a Will dies intestate. The Intestate Successions Act governs this situation. The act sets out a distribution priority.

For example, if the deceased is married with children from that marriage, all will go to the spouse. The act also sets out a priority for those who can apply to court to have letters of administration issued.

Letters of administration are essentially the same as letters of probate, except that there is no Will to probate. The court will issue a document appointing an individual as administrator. The administrator is the person who distributes the assets in accordance with the Intestate Successions Act.

How much time does it take to probate a will?

Unfortunately, I have no standard answer. It depends... First, it depends on how quickly the executor can round up all the necessary information. Lawyers need a list of all assets at the time of death (including bank and investment statements) and the names and addresses of all beneficiaries.

Once we have all that information, we can prepare the request for your signature. Once signed, we submit the request to court. Court approval can take anywhere from two to six weeks. Overall, the process can take anywhere from six weeks to several months from the first appointment to final distribution.

How much does a probate cost?

As of July 1st, 2020, Manitoba courts will no longer charge probate fees.

How much are Executor fees?

Many people believe that executors can charge a fee based on a certain percentage of the estate. While in some cases 1% is appropriate, a percentage based approach is not recommended. Courts have long held that it depends on the work involved. A small complicated estate may warrant high fees where as a large simple estate may not.

We can advise you on how much an executor should be paid to administer an estate in Manitoba.

I've been named executor, what now?
A loved one has passed away, and you have been named executor. What now? As executor, you have several responsibilities, including obtaining a grant of probate from the courts. 

We offer a free step-by-step guide to assist you. We hope you find this information helpful during this difficult time.
What is probate?
It depends who you ask. Wikipedia defines probate as a court process that proves a will. However, in Manitoba, the Wills Act establishes the criteria for a valid will. If the Will is valid, then it doesn’t need a process to prove it.

I prefer to think of probate as a legal process where third parties (like banks and credit unions) can rely on a grant of probate for protection. The granting of probate by the court is the first step in the legal process of administering an estate. Once probate is granted, the executor can enforce the Will.
Is probate necessary?
No. Probate is not always required. As long as a Will meets the requirements of the Wills Act, it is valid. Probate is only necessary when an institution holding the assets of a deceased asks for a "grant of probate" or "letters of probate."

Probate is always required if the deceased owned real property (a house, cottage, vacant land, commercial property, rentals, condo or agricultural land) in his or her own name.
When is probate necessary?
Third parties who hold the deceased's assets (like banks or credit unions) will require some kind of protection before they let someone who claims to be executor access those assets. 

For example, someone names a nephew in Halifax as executor and leaves all of his or her belongings to him. After the testator's death, the nephew shows up at the bank in Winnipeg with a copy of the Will and asks for a bank draft for all the money in the testator's bank account, being approximately $57,000. The bank representatives would justifiably be concerned about fraud. How do they know that the Will is valid?

The bank will ask the executor to obtain a grant of probate, which is essentially a certificate from the court "probating" the will. The bank will then be able to rely on that document. If someone comes along later claiming fraud, the bank will not be responsible.
What happens when someone dies without a Will?
Someone who dies without a Will dies intestate. The Intestate Successions Act governs this situation. The act sets out a distribution priority.

For example, if the deceased is married with children from that marriage, all will go to the spouse. The act also sets out a priority for those who can apply to court to have letters of administration issued.

Letters of administration are essentially the same as letters of probate, except that there is no Will to probate. The court will issue a document appointing an individual as administrator. The administrator is the person who distributes the assets in accordance with the Intestate Successions Act.

How much time does it take to probate a will?
Unfortunately, I have no standard answer. It depends... First, it depends on how quickly the executor can round up all the necessary information. Lawyers need a list of all assets at the time of death (including bank and investment statements) and the names and addresses of all beneficiaries.

Once we have all that information, we can prepare the request for your signature. Once signed, we submit the request to court. Court approval can take anywhere from two to six weeks. Overall, the process can take anywhere from six weeks to several months from the first appointment to final distribution.
How much does probate cost?
As of July 1st, 2020, Manitoba courts will no longer charge probate fees.

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How much are executor fees?
Many people believe that executors can charge a fee based on a certain percentage of the estate. While in some cases 1% is appropriate, a percentage based approach is not recommended. Courts have long held that it depends on the work involved. A small complicated estate may warrant high fees where as a large simple estate may not.

We can advise you on how much an executor should be paid to administer an estate in Manitoba.

Easy Explanations

What is an Executor?

The executor/trix is responsible for managing the estate. This includes tasks like arranging the funeral, identifying beneficiaries, retaining a lawyer, executing the Will and so on.

What is Probate?

Probate is required to transfer real estate, or funds held by institutions like banks and credit unions. However, probate is not always necessary.

Download our Executor Checklist

Do you want to know more?

Book a Consultation