Settling Small Estates (SK)

Updated Apr 5, 2024
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In Saskatchewan, small estates worth <$25,000 can avoid probate, and regardless of estate size, probate is not required if an estate contains only assets exempt from probate.


A Saskatchewan estate qualifies as "small" if:

  • The value of the personal property is <$25,000
  • The estate contains no real property (i.e., real estate)

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.

Small Estate Process

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

  1. Submit an Application in Small Estates Memorandum to the Judge (Form 16-36) to the court (there is no requirement for any notices)
  2. The court will return to you a court Order that estate property to be turned over to you for proper disposition
  3. In accordance with the Order, pay reasonable expenses and resolve debts, then distribute any remaining net assets in accordance with the terms of the will or intestate succession if there is no will
  4. If you get a receipt from the recipient of estate proceeds, you will be absolved any liability with respect to those proceeds

For statute details, see The Administration of Estates Act, SS 1998, c A-4.1, s 9 and The Administration of Estates Regulations, RRS c A-4.1 Reg 2, s 8.2.

Estate Settlement Considerations

Before paying any debts or making any distributions, be sure to account for any Family Entitlements in SK, 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 SK, 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 SK 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 Saskatchewan, the Court of Queen's Bench handles probate and estate administration (find your probate court location).

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 SK.

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 SK.

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

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