Estate Files: Frequently Asked Questions

1. What type of information will I find in an estate file?

Estate files are an excellent source of information that may be difficult to gather otherwise. The types and number of documents you might find will vary from file to file. Estate files may consist of probate applications, wills, affidavits, property inventories and valuations.

You can find identifying information such as the name and residence of the deceased, the date, manner and place of death, and a list of heirs, spouses, children or relatives. In addition, the records may also contain the name, address and occupation of the person filing the application – often a relative of the deceased.

Estate files may also include more detailed documents relating to the estate, such as a copy of the will left by the deceased, an inventory of the deceased’s holdings or debts, and any petitions or affidavits received by the court regarding the disposition of the estate.

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2. Do all estate files contain wills?

No. Sometimes the estate files do not contain a will. If the deceased did not leave a will or sufficient property to dispense of after death, there will not be a will in the estate file.

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3. Are there other records created when estates are probated? What is a probate record?

The Archives also holds legal instruments, such as grants of probate, letters of administration, letters of administration with will annexed, probate books, indexes, and special grants. Search Keystone for more information.

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4. Are death certificates and registrations included in estate files?

No. Death certificates and registrations may only be obtained from Manitoba Vital Statistics.

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5. Can I get copies of estate files?

The Archives of Manitoba provides limited Copy Services.

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6. What if I can’t find the person I’m looking for in the records?

If you are unable to find the person you are looking for in the index, try alternate spellings of names, or expand your search to include several years after the date of death. Keep in mind, however, that there may be gaps in the record, and that estate files may not exist for some individuals.

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7. Are any of the estate files on microfilm?

No. The estate files held at the Archives of Manitoba are not available on microfilm.

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