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Tuesday, February 09, 2016
Saskatchewan Justice

The Administration of Estates Act is Saskatchewan’s principal legislation respecting the rights and liabilities of administrators and executors of an estate. The Act includes information for executors and administrators on topics such as:

  • application for letters probate or letters of administration;
  • the rights, powers and liabilities of an executor or administrator; and
  • the role of the Public Guardian and Trustee.

The Act also permits an interested party to apply to the Court of Queen’s Bench with respect to:

  • the interpretation of the will;
  • determination of the validity of the will; or
  • the conduct of the executor or administrator of the will.

In the case of the conduct of the executor or administrator, the Court may first order an inquiry and accounting.

The Act sets out how an executor or other person can obtain the Court’s approval to administer the estate of a person who died with or without a will and who left property in Saskatchewan.

Letters probate is a legal endorsement of the proof of execution of a will. If there is no will, or if the will does not appoint an executor or the executor declines to act or has ceased to act, a person administering the estate applies for letters of administration. Under letters of administration an administrator will be appointed by the Court with full authorization to act as the personal representative of the deceased.

Once letters of administration have been granted, the administrator must enter into a bond for the performance of his or her duties. Like the executor under letters of probate, the administrator becomes the personal representative of the deceased. Both the executor or administrator do not act in their personal capacity but as a representative of the deceased. They have power to administer the deceased’s estate, pay funeral expenses, pay other debts, and dispose of property in accordance with the provisions of the will or, where there is no will, in accordance with The Intestate Succession Act.

When a person dies with a will, the following, in order of priority, are the persons entitled to apply for letters probate or letters of administration with the will annexed:

  • executors;
  • residuary beneficiaries in trust;
  • residuary beneficiaries for life;
  • ultimate residuary beneficiaries or, where the residue is not wholly disposed of, persons entitled on an intestacy;
  • personal representatives of ultimate residuary beneficiaries or persons entitled on an intestacy;
  • beneficiaries and creditors;
  • contingent residuary beneficiaries, contingent beneficiaries and persons having no interest in the estate who would have been entitled to a grant if the deceased had died without a will;
  • the Crown.

When a person dies without a will, the following persons, in order of priority, are entitled to apply for letters of administration:

  • spouse;
  • children;
  • grandchildren and other descendants of the deceased;
  • parents;
  • siblings;
  • nephews and nieces;
  • next of kin of equal degree of relatedness;
  • creditors;
  • the Crown.

The Court may, without granting letters probate or letters of administration, order that the personal property of a deceased person be paid or delivered to a person named by the judge and disposed of by that person. This happens when the deceased owned no real property in Saskatchewan and the value of the personal property owned did not exceed $25,000. In special circumstances, such as insolvency of the estate, the Court may appoint any person the judge considers appropriate to be the administrator of an estate.

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