Executor’s Duties

Here are the 34 Key Executor Duties you need to know when dealing with an estate. This post was originally released on our site with the free podcast on what to do when you are named executor of a Canadian estate.

1/ Arrange for funeral
2/ The banks will usually release funds to pay funeral expenses and debts up to $2,000.00;
3/ Locate and obtain original Will and Codicil (s) if any;
4/ Pursue important papers of the deceased – bank statements, trust companies, safetydeposit box (obtain listing), securities in safekeeping with bank, insurance polices,stocks, bonds, ect.;
5/ Compile list of all household contents and valuation of same;
6/ Compile list of all real estate and check for any outstanding mortgages, leases,agreements for sale, etc.;
7/ Ensure that all properties are protected by fire insurance;
8/ Obtain registration particulars of any automobiles and valuation;
9/ Compile list of all debts and include funeral expenses;
10/ Obtain names and addresses of all beneficiaries, children and brothers and sisters of the deceased;
11/ Bring the Will and the completed inventory of the deceased’s assets, together with the list of outstanding debts, to the lawyer’s office for the lawyer so they can prepare Affidavits and documents for you to sign. The layers will then be able to make an application to the Court for a Grant of Letters Probate;
12/ The layers will mail a Notice and copy of the Will to all beneficiaries and next of kin.
13/ Check with the widow/widower to ascertain if she/he is in need of additional funds to live on;
14/ Death Certificates are required to transfer joint accounts, joint property, pension benefits and life insurance;
15/ Protect the estate against loss by having cash, securities, jewelry, bonds, stock, and annuities placed in a safety deposit box;
16/ Provide for the proper management, maintenance and collection of rents of any real estate and arrange for rental of vacant real estate;
17/ Provide for the proper supervision and management of any business of the deceased;
18/ Collect any outstanding amounts due to the deceased as a result of being a beneficiary under any other estates or trusts;
19/ Place all cash that is on deposit into interest-bearing from at the highest possible rate for the anticipated time period needed to probate the estate;
20/ Apply for any federal or provincial death benefits or pensions. Canada Pension Plan is a lump sum death benefit, and in most cases where the deceased has been contributing to the plan prior to retirement, a pension is payable to the surviving spouse;
21/ Obtain particulars of any death benefits accruing as a result of employment, including the last month’s salary, group life plans, registered homeownership plan, death benefits and/or pensions;
22/ Fill out and forward all necessary claim forms for insurance, annuities, registered retirement savings plans, registered homeownership plan, death benefits and/or pensions;
23/ A lawyer will advertise for creditors in the newspaper in general circulation in the area in which the deceased died. Confirm or reject the claims submitted by creditors;
24/ Pay all debts of the deceased, including mortgages and loans;
25/ Transfer and distribute to the appropriate beneficiaries any household effects or personal effects pursuant to the Will and/or liquidate the same if applicable;
26/ Remove contents of safety deposit box (this may be done 14 days after listing unless notified otherwise) and convert into cash those assets which are required to be liquidated in order to satisfy liabilities and monetary bequests;
27/ Have a lawyer prepare the necessary documentation to complete the transfer of any real estate, firstly, into the name of the Executor and secondly, to the beneficiary if there is a specific bequest under the Will to do so. Alternatively, if indicated by the Will, the property may be sold and converted into cash;
28/ Make the necessary arrangements for the continuation of the deceased’s business, or the appropriate interest transferred to the appropriate beneficiaries and/or sell and/or wind up the company, pursuant to the instructions in the Will;
29/ Instruct an accountant to file final tax returns and to obtain a tax clearance certificate prior to distribution of the entire estate;
30/ Obtain final Release of Claims from each beneficiary if the estate is to be distributed within six months from the date of death of the deceased;
31/ If all assets are held jointly and the estate is under $10,000.00 you may be able to complete the transfer of the deceased’s assets to he beneficiaries without the necessity of applying for Probate or Administration;
32/ As Executor, you can charge a fee of up to five (5%) percent of the gross value of the estate, as agreed by the beneficiaries or approved by the Court;
33/ Except in the case of very large or very small estates, our legal fees are usually approximately two (2%) percent of the gross value of the estate, plus disbursements;
34/ As Executor, you may be require to do an accounting of all funds received and expenses incurred in the administration, and if they are not in agreement, then same must be approved by the Court.

E. & O.E.

About The Author

Mark Schneider
Mark Schneider is one of Canada's leading Chartered Financial Planners. For over 30 years he has helped hundreds of regular Canadian families grow small fortunes through consistent planning and wise advice. He holds the following designations: CFP, CLU, CHFC, CFSB