This is a quick list of items that the executor should look at regarding the administration of an estate. At all times keep an accurate record of all conversations, decisions made and actions taken, as well as all monies coming into the estate and paid from the estate. Ensure that you keep the estate money separate from your own.
If you do not wish to administer the estate, for whatever reason, renounce the position before you take any action. You need simply submit Form 74.11 (“Renunciation of Right to a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee (or Succeeding Estate Trustee) With a Will” – available at http://ontariocourtforms.on.ca/en/rules-of-civil-procedure-forms/pre-formatted-fillable-estates-forms/) and file with the Superior Court of Justice in the county or district in which the deceased resided at the time of death.
Now, to the list:
AT DEATH – any instructions re organ/tissue/whole body donation
FUNERAL, BURIAL/MEMORIAL – any special instructions – prearranged/prepaid – if arranging funeral check with bank to ensure funds available – any money outstanding (employment pay and benefits, insurance proceeds, etc.) to help pay – death registration/burial permit/proof of death – death certificate (6 copies) to cancel social insurance number, passport, health card, driver’s licence and for insurance purposes
THE WILL – original in possession – advice needed re interpretation, probate or distribution of assets – consult lawyer re any foreign Will – review Will and any codicils or memoranda – get at least two notarized/certified copies – contact lawyer who prepared Will (ask if any changes/additions have been made – contact your lawyer if no Will located or there are trusts to be administered by executor
FAMILY/BENEFICIARY MATTERS – consult lawyer re minor children (under 18 years), children under 25 years attending school full-time, or dependents with disabilities – review any marriage contracts and support documents – notify any estranged or separated spouse – determine immediate financial requirements of family (mortgage, rent, etc.) – recommend assets that could be sold to meet needs – arrange for care of dependants (including pets, livestock/crops) – list family/beneficiaries including full name, relationship, date of birth, address and other contact information – if possible arrange meeting (optional) to discuss the Will, your duties and plan – advise beneficiaries of realistic timing of probate, tax filings, and any other matters that may delay the distribution of assets – gather information they may have re outstanding debts, pending litigation, location of assets, etc. – provide beneficiaries with copy of relevant part of the Will – identify charitable organizations named in Will and check that they still exist – consult lawyer if charity no longer exists
EXECUTOR INSURANCE – if any concern about potential liability, insurance must be purchased (estate expense) at the start of the administration (http://www.erassure.com for more information)
LEGAL MATTERS – consult your lawyer if: cause of death may give rise to a legal claim – if deceased was a party to any legal proceeding at the time of death or had entered into any contract (written or verbal) prior to the time of death – spousal or child support payments were being made
GENERAL HOUSEHOLD – notify landlord (if applicable) – change locks and alarm codes – dispose of perishables from kitchen and pantry, etc. – secure and arrange for care of vacant property (snow removal, lawn maintenance, etc.) – notify insurers and maintain adequate coverage on home(s), contents, vehicles, etc. – advise police that house will be empty
SECURE VALUABLES – create Estate Inventory – locate and protect items referred to in the Will – obtain proper appraisals for valuable items – locate and protect jewellery and other valuables, deeds, mortgage documents, securities and any other documents found of potential value – invest cash in an income-generating account and protect jewellery and other valuables, deeds, mortgage documents, securities and any other documents found of potential value – obtain professional investment advice – clear and close any safety deposit boxes
Oh, I’m out of room and there’s so much more to add. It seems that it’s not quite as simple as 500 words. See you next month for the next part of the list.