Manitoba Law Reform Commission Releases Final Report on Small Estates


3 April 2018

By Valerie Le Blanc

Manitoba Law Reform Commission Releases Final Report on Small Estates

On March 20th, the Manitoba Law Reform Commission (MLRC) released its final report entitled, Updating the Administration of Small Estates in Manitoba—Final Report #135. The report examines “possible amendments to improve the legislation and procedure related to the summary administration of small estates”, as part of the MLRC’s Access to Courts and Court Processes initiative.

The report addresses three primary areas, namely:

(1) whether the monetary jurisdiction should be increased (currently it is limited to estates valued at $10,000 or less);

(2) whether the disclosure of assets requirement should be clarified and improved; and

(3) whether the residency requirement for administrators appointed by letters of administration ought to expressly apply to administrators of small estates.

The MLRC report makes six recommendations for reform of the summary administration of small estates in the province:

  • The monetary jurisdiction of the summary administration of small estates under Section 47 of The Court of Queen’s Bench Surrogate Practice Act should be increased;
  • The act should be amended to allow the monetary limit for small estates to be adjusted upward by regulation;
  • Orders granted under Section 47 of The Court of Queen’s Bench Surrogate Practice Act should only apply to assets disclosed on the Request to Order Pursuant to that section of the act;
  • The Court of Queen’s Bench Surrogate Practice Act should be amended such that the requirement to file an amended inventory of assets discovered after a grant of probate or administration within 30 days of the discovery would apply to small estates falling under Section 47 of the act;
  • The Request to Order Pursuant to Section 47 of The Court of Queen’s Bench Surrogate Practice Act should require applicants to disclose an inventory of both the real and personal property of the deceased; and
  • Section 47 of The Court of Queen’s Bench Surrogate Practice Act should be amended to expressly provide that administration of an estate falling within the jurisdiction of that section shall not be granted to a person who is not habitually resident within Manitoba.

The aim of the MLRC’s recommendations is to make the process for administering small estates “more accessible and affordable” for Manitobans.

For more information on the MLRC’s report, click here.

The MLRC Access to Courts and Court Processes Project

The MLRC report is the second published under its Access to Courts and Courts Processes initiative. The purpose of the project is to consider what amendments can be made to existing legislation to improve access to the justice system.

Summary Administration of Small Estates in British Columbia

The MLRC report cites BCLI’s Interim Report on Summary Administration of Small Estates, published in 2005 as part of the Succession Law Reform Project. The interim report proposed a new procedure for administration of small estates in British Columbia. The proposed legislative scheme covers estates consisting of personal property, with a monetary limit set by regulation at $50,000 (before deduction of liabilities). The BCLI noted the recommended limit represents “a reasonable estimate of the value of a typical small estate in which the assets might consist of a motor vehicle, a modest bank account, and some personal property of relatively negligible value.” In setting the amount by regulation, this could ensure the amount is easily varied, if needed. The interim report also suggested review of the monetary limit after several years to determine whether it remains a reasonable estimate of the value of a typical small estate.

 


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