When a resident of New Brunswick dies without someone who is willing and/or able to be responsible for administering the estate, it may become necessary for the Public Trustee to act on behalf of the deceased individual. Arrangements may have been made by the individual prior to death in the form of a Will naming the Public Trustee as an executor. If not, the Public Trustee can apply to the Court to act on behalf of the deceased.
When a person dies with a will:
When a person dies, an Application may have to be made to Court for Letters of Probate which enable distribution of the estate in accordance with a valid Will. An individual may name the Public Trustee as executor of his/her Will. The Public Trustee holds a copy of the Will and takes the appropriate action when informed about the individual’s death.
When a person dies without a will:
When a person dies without a Will, the Public Trustee may be appointed by the Courts to administer the estate and to attempt to locate heirs and distribute any assets in accordance with the Devolution of Estates Act (this Act sets out who will inherit a person’s estate if there is no Will).
When a client of the Public Trustee dies:
When a client of the Public Trustee dies, we continue to manage the client’s property until notification is received that an executor or administrator has been appointed.
The Public Trustee makes a thorough search for a Will, including advertising in newspapers if necessary, checking with the client’s relatives, friends, lawyers, or anyone else who may have knowledge of a Will or its whereabouts. If a valid Will is found and an executor is appointed by the Courts, the Public Trustee will pay over all of the client’s assets to the executor, who will then deal with them in accordance with the Will.
If a client dies without a valid Will and if no one is willing and able to act on behalf of the individual, the Public Trustee may apply to the Court to administer the estate and distribute assets. The Public Trustee conducts a search for legitimate heirs.