Estate Administration

Are you Assuming the Role of an Executor?

Have you been named as the executor in a will? Are you facing the responsibility of carrying out a loved one’s final wishes? We don’t take your responsibilities lightly, and we’re here to help you navigate this intimidating process. Your new duties may include a number of action items such as having the will probated, settling any outstanding debts, paying taxes, and distributing the assets to the beneficiaries. Read below to learn more about the responsibilities involved in estate administration.

Be Recognized as an Executor After Obtaining a Grant of Probate
As an executor, you must obtain the Grant of Probate. We can draft the necessary documents for you, which include Application and Affidavits to be submitted to the Surrogate Court, and make sure all paper work is filed properly.

Why do you need to file a Grant of Probate as an executor of a will? A probated will is one in which the courts have agreed and approved the will as the final will of the deceased. It also legally confirms your role as executor, so that you can continue administering the estate, uninterrupted. Financial institutions will generally only release the deceased’s assets if the will is probated. This saves you and the courts time if someone wishes to contest the will at a later date.

When a person dies “intestate,” that is, dies without a will, someone must be appointed by the court to oversee the estate, and the court will issue Letters of Administration to them. Letters of Administration are also issued if the deceased did not name an executor in the will or if the executors named in the will are deceased or are unable to assume that responsibility.

Administering the Estate

As an executor, there are a number of procedures you must go through, to effectively administer the estate in accordance with the law and the wishes of the deceased. The first step is to locate and examine the will. If done quickly, any special requests regarding the funeral arrangements can be met. Original copies of death certificates should be obtained and the immediate financial needs of the deceased’s family should be considered. Additionally, anyone who may have a valid interest in the estate should be contacted, and the details of the process should be explained to them.

Your immediate responsibilities as an executor are to locate and safeguard the assets of the deceased. This may require any of the following actions:
• Confirm there is adequate insurance coverage of assets, such as, properties and vehicles;
• Notify the deceased’s financial institutions and employers about the death, if necessary;
• Open a bank account to deposit any remaining income and to take care of upcoming expenses. A probate may be required before those expenses can be paid.
After the Grant of Probate has been received the process of estate administration can begin. This process may require you do any or all of the following:
• Close bank accounts and transfer funds to the bank account of the estate;
• Pay all debts and deal with legitimate claims before distributing assets to the beneficiaries named in the will;
• Give any bequests or personal possessions of the deceased to the beneficiaries;
• Transfer benefits such as pensions or employment benefits;
• File claims for annuities or insurances;
• Register any securities and bonds in your name and sell, hold or transfer them to beneficiaries, per the instructions of the will;
• Wrap up outstanding tax issues and determine the tax liabilities of the estate before distributing assets to beneficiaries;
• Obtain a Tax Clearance Certificate from the Canada Revenue Agency, confirming the settlement of all tax liabilities.

Typically, distributing the estate assets to beneficiaries is the last step in the estate administration process. This is also an involved process and may require you do any or all of the following:
• Set up testamentary trusts;
• Prepare the accounting documents;
• Complete the sale of assets;
• Sign the release forms while distributing the assets.

Estate administration can involve very time-consuming and complicated procedures. Are you an executor of an estate, and struggling to juggle this new responsibility with all of your other commitments? We highly recommend that you reach out to Angela —-a qualified Wills and Estate Lawyer. Angela specializes in this practice and she will guide you with her expert knowledge and strategies to safeguard the assets of the estate. With her help, you can ensure that the wishes of the deceased are honored, while you still maintain your other obligations.

If you want to find out more about getting your estate affairs in order please contact us at 403-258-4400 or email us at