Probate for Small NB Estates

Courthouse for estate probate

In New Brunswick, it is possible to avoid standard probate under certain circumstances:

Assets That Bypass Probate

There's no need for probate if the estate consists solely of assets that bypass probate, such as assets held in joint tenancy with a right of survivorship (e.g., a home) assets with named beneficiaries (e.g., RRSPs, life insurance policies), accounts Payable on Death, and other standard probate exclusions.

Custodian Cooperation

Even if there are assets that do not automatically transfer on death, you may be able to avoid probate if the existing asset custodians allow you to take possession of the assets without Letters Probate. However, if a custodian such as a financial institution requires such documentation, then probate will be required.

Public Trustee

If no one has been granted probate, the public trustee can settle an estate without a formal court appointment if the estate is worth <$3,000, which can save a lot of unnecessary work (see Probate Court Act, SNB 1982, c P-17.1, s 20). For that matter, you can apply to have the public trustee take on the estate administration regardless of size, via Public Trustee Services Form 01, but there will be associated fees.

Real Property

If the estate contains real property (i.e., real estate) that does not automatically transfer on death, then probate will almost always be required.


If there are disputes about the will, or debts, you will most likely want to go through probate in any case, for the legal protections and process it provides


In New Brunswick, the Probate Division of the Court of Queen's Bench handles probate and estate administration (find your probate court location).

These common NB probate forms may be helpful.

See also General Probate.

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