Settling Small Estates (MB)

Updated Apr 5, 2024
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In Manitoba, small estates can avoid probate via summary administration, allowing executors to save considerable effort and cost. Regardless of estate size, probate is not required if an estate contains only assets exempt from probate.


In Manitoba, an estate qualifies as "small" if the total value of its assets subject to probate is <$10,000.

In calculating estate value, you should value assets as of the date of death, and ignore any debts. Do not include assets that would not normally go through probate, such as property with right of survivorship, assets with named beneficiaries (e.g., RRSPs, life insurance policies), and other standard probate exclusions.

Summary Administration Process

If the estate qualifies as small, you can avoid probate as follows:

  1. Submit a Request for Order (Form 74FF) and an Order under Rule 47 (Form 74GG) to the court
  2. The court will return to you a signed copy of the Order
  3. Provide a copy of the Order in person or by mail to all beneficiaries named in the will (if there is no will, provide a copy to all next of kin)
  4. Follow the estate distribution instructions in the Order: pay funeral expenses, pay estate debts, and distribute any remainder according to the terms of the will or intestate succession if there is no will

For statute details, see Court of Queen's Bench Surrogate Practice Act, CCSM, c C290, s 47 and Court of Queen's Bench Rules, Manitoba Regulation 553/88, s74.15.

Estate Settlement Considerations

Before paying any debts or making any distributions, be sure to account for any Family Entitlements in MB, which typically have priority over everything except expenses of the last illness, funeral charges, and any estate administrations expenses.

Even if the estate does not go through probate, you may still be entitled to Executor Compensation in MB, and this compensation also has priority over most estate debts.

Estate debts have priority over most distributions in turn, so before distributing assets you should resolve any estate debts. If the estate makes any distributions beyond amounts set aside for family entitlements, unpaid creditors have the right to sue the recipients for repayment using those excess distributions. Consequently, even if the settlement process does not require you to publish a Notice to Creditors, you may want to follow MB probate rules for finding estate debts, since doing so may limit the time creditors have to pursue repayment.

If estate solvency is uncertain, an executor should consider going through official probate for the increased creditor protection it offers. Alternately, such uncertainty can sometimes persuade creditors to forgive a portion of debts, since they will want to avoid legal expenses as well, and may prefer to get something rather than nothing.

See also Making Distributions.


In Manitoba, the Probate Division of the Court of Queen's Bench handles probate and estate administration (see Court of Queen's Bench locations).

Additional Information

If your estate doesn't qualify for a small estate approach, or you're simply interested in exploring standard probate, take a look at Probate in MB.

And since probate is just the court-supervised subset of winding up a person's affairs after death, you'll probably want to check out our Complete Guide to Estate Settlement in MB.

Finally, in case you're interested, details about handling small estates in other provinces can be found here:

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