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Will of Marie-Catherine-Henriette-Augustine Cordier de la Houssaye Penton, widow of Henry Penton.22 September 1854. Library and Archives Canada, MG 8 F89, vol.8, page 4469, reel C-14034.


Will of Marie-Catherine-Henriette-Augustine
Cordier de la Houssaye Penton, widow of
Henry Penton. 22 September 1854.
Library and Archives Canada,
MG 8 F89, vol. 8,
page 4469, reel  C-14034.

An estate file contains the documents used by the court to disperse the deceased person's estate, whether he/she died with or without a will. The contents can include applications, the original will, affidavits, an inventory of the assets and valuations.

The will usually mentions members of the family, gives an indication of the deceased person's material wealth and of the ultimate division of the estate.

Wills and estate records are a provincial and territorial responsibility.


Inquiries should be addressed to the:

Succession Duty Department
Public Trustee's Office
10365-97 Street
Edmonton, AB
T5J 3Z8

British Columbia

Wills and probate files up to 1981 are in the custody of the British Columbia Archives. Later records are held by the:

Court Registry
Ministry of the Attorney General
850 Burdett, Room 205
Victoria, BC
V8W 1B4


Estate files are transferred to the Archives of Manitoba after 20 years from rural courts and after 60 years from the Winnipeg court. Records that have not been transferred to the Provincial Archives are available at the appropriate court office.

New Brunswick

The Provincial Archives holds both probate files, with the will or letter of administration and supporting documentation, and probate books (registers), which are indexed. An ongoing microfilming program will make them available through inter-institutional loan. Check under County Guides [] for the extent of the records and microfilm reel numbers where applicable.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Records of probated estates are held by the:

Supreme Court of Newfoundland (Trial Division)
Court House, Duckworth Street
St. John's, NL
A1C 5M3

Northwest Territories

Probate records are in the custody of the:

Supreme Court
PO Box 1320
Yellowknife, NT
X1A 2L9

Some records of the administration of intestate estates are held by the:

Public Trustee
Government of the Northwest Territories
Yellowknife, NT
X0E 1H0

Nova Scotia

All estate documents are recorded and kept at the offices of the Registrar in each Probate District []. The Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management holds microfilm copies of probate records, complete for all counties to about 1900, some of which contain indexes.


Inquiries should be addressed to the:

Public Trustee
Iqaluit, NU


Records are in the custody of the Archives of Ontario. That office holds the indexes, registers and estate files of the provincial Court of Probate, 1791-1859, and of the county/district Surrogate Courts, 1793-1951. Most of the pre-1930 records are available on microfilm.

The Archives of Ontario also holds the indexes and Application to Probate Clerk Books, 1858-1978, allowing researchers to locate Surrogate Court files by surname, including those not yet transferred from the local courthouses [].

Prince Edward Island

Probate Court records, 1807-1920, containing wills are in the custody of the Public Archives and Records Office.

Records later than 1920 are held at:

Estates Division
Sir Louis Henry Davies Law Courts
42 Water Street
PO Box 2290
Charlottetown, PE
C1A 8C1


In Quebec, wills and estate records were made by notaries and are accessible through the same process as Notarial Records.

Those documents are also registered in the local Bureau de la publicité des droits [].


Probate records created before 1958 are in the Surrogate Court [] nearest to the residence of the deceased.

Since 1958, wills can be probated at any one of the judicial centres in the province. The genealogist might now look in the centre closest to the residence of the executor of the will as well. Probated wills are also filed with the Surrogate Registrar at the Regina Court House.


Some estate records form part of the Territorial Court Records, 1897-1950, in the custody of the Yukon Archives.