What are the responsibilities and duties of an executor?
Executor Duties and Probate of a Will
You have been named as the executor or personal representative under th e Will of a deceased person but now you need to learn about your legal responsibilities. At Bosecke Law LLP, we can assist you with this process and guide you to fulfill your duties as the Personal Representative.
There are various responsibilities and duties of the Personal Representative which will vary depending on the complexity of the estate. This list is not comprehensive and will not apply to all estates and we would recommend that you obtain legal advise early in the process to assist you.
- Find the Will – Check for the last Will of the deceased. You should check where the deceased kept important papers and also check with the deceased’s lawyer if you can find that information.
- Retain a Lawyer – You should consult with a lawyer to review the Will and advise on the various steps to be taken. You do not need to retain the lawyer that prepared the Will
- Arrange for Funeral Arrangements – this is the initial duty of the Personal Representative but make sure you review the Will to see if the deceased had any specific funeral or burial arrangements. Also review the important papers of the deceased to see if there was a pre-paid funeral or burial
- Death Certificates – copies of the Death Certificate will often be required for financial institutions, Canada Revenue Agency, Land Titles and claiming for pensions and life insurance. You must complete a Registration of Death Form and submit to Vital Statistics. Often, the funeral home will assist you with this process;
- List of Assets and Debts – You will need to review the deceased’s important papers, tax returns, bank statements, life insurance policies and contact employers or former employers to locate all assets and debts of the deceased. You may need to check with the financial institution for safety deposit boxes and bank accounts. A detailed listing is very important as you will need this information to pay outstanding income taxes as well as to pay debts and distribute assets.
- Manage the Deceased’s Property – You should take all reasonable steps to preserve the assets of the deceased. You should make sure the home and vehicles are secure, cancel credit cards and ongoing expenses, re-direct the mail
- Apply for Probate – Depending on the complexity of the Estate and the assets in the Estate, you may need to apply for a Grant of Probate. A Grant of Probate is issued by the Courts and confirms the validity of the Will and the authority of the Personal Representative to carry out the duties required under the Will. Probate is not always required but if there is real estate in the estate or large sums of funds or investments, then Probate will be required. Contact us at Bosecke Law LLP to assist you with this application as it is a detailed application and must be served on all of the Beneficiaries and others who may have a claim against the Estate.
- Distribute Property to Beneficiaries – Once you have completed the collection of assets and payment of debts, you must then provide a financial accounting to the Beneficiaries for their review. When approved by the Beneficiaries, we typically will assist you in obtaining a release from all Beneficiaries which confirms that they are satisfied with your accounting and protects you against future claims by the Beneficiaries.
Bosecke Law LLP can assist you with this difficult and time-consuming process. To retain us to assist you or answer your questions, please Contact Us Here