Estate Administration in 500 Words … or Not – Part 4

46 - 500-4

This is the fourth and final portion of the list.  Even taken together, the four parts may not be a complete list – every estate is and will be different from every other.  Some are fairly straightforward if you are familiar with what you are doing as executor but other estates involve business interests, collections and other large assets handed down between generations.  Sometimes proper estate planning has occurred, other times it has not.

Now, let’s finish the list:

ESTATE RETURNS – prepare annually for any income (rental income, interest, etc.) made by the estate for each year after death until the estate is wound-up

FOREIGN TAX RETURNS – consult competent professional if deceased was a citizen of another country or foreign assets are involved

BUSINESS INTERESTS – if deceased was the sole/controlling shareholder of a business take control and ensure operations continue or obtain/hire manager – consult partnership/shareholders’ agreement for provisions regarding death of a partner/shareholder – determine estate’s entitlements/liabilities – secure all physical assets/ documents – ensure all debts paid/responsibilities fulfilled – if deceased owned rental property, confirm that rents are up-to-date and continue to be collected – ensure services are maintained – If deceased held a mortgage on another person’s property advise that all future payments are made to you (as executor) – consult lawyer for additional information/guidance

TRANSFERRING, SELLING AND DISTRIBUTING ASSETS – create detailed list of assets to be transferred, sold or distributed in accordance with the Will – the Wills Variation Act allows any spouse or child of the deceased to apply to the court to vary/change terms of the Will (within 6 months starting of grant of probate) – therefore wait before distributing any assets or obtaining releases

REAL PROPERTY – consult lawyer re transfer of real property – if property (house or land) is held in joint tenancy have title transferred to the name of the survivor only – if not, transfer real property ownership to executor – notify Municipal Property Assessment Corporation – sell/ transfer real estate according to the Will – cancel insurance on real estate upon transfer and after obtaining receipt from beneficiary

PERSONAL PROPERTY – review Will regarding distribution of personal property – determine best method for selling any personal property to be sold – sell or transfer vehicles and cancel insurance upon transfer and remove licence plates – sell/transfer stocks and bonds according to the Will – transfer or cancel all memberships (as applicable)

DISTRIBUTING ASSETS – determine scheme for distribution of assets – set aside reserve fund for taxes, debts, professional fees and executor’s compensation – distribute items according to the Will – consult beneficiaries regarding in specie (item instead of cash conversion) distribution where appropriate and obtain receipts – prepare cheques for payment of legacies and obtain receipts from beneficiaries – set up any testamentary trusts – arrange for ongoing review of investments and ongoing compliance within terms of trust (ensure terms do not disqualify disabled beneficiary from receiving government assistance) – submit full accounting of estate administration, estate accounts and proposed executor compensation to beneficiaries and get releases from beneficiaries – advise beneficiaries to obtain independent legal advice when reviewing final report – cancel insurance on personal property after selling or transferring and obtaining receipt from beneficiary

CLEARING THE ESTATE – arrange auction of sellable unwanted items – donate leftover items to charities – discard debris and non-donatable items

FINAL DUTIES – pay remaining professional fees and disbursements and executor’s compensation – prepare final cheques for distribution of any remaining funds to beneficiaries and obtain receipts – close estate bank account after confirming all cheques have cleared – file all records, accounts and communications in a safe place

Well, that’s it.  Seems easy doesn’t it?  Always remember that help is available from many sources if you need it – do not be afraid to ask.  Reasonable expenses are payable by the estate.

Thank you for reading, sharing, commenting on and liking my entries.  I have a couple of projects that I will be working on over the next few months so all will be quiet from me blog-wise for the next little while.

All the best,

About Penny Schneider

Penny Schneider, TEP is a Trained Professional Organizer who works specifically with executors on estates. On the 1st of each month Penny writes short pieces about things important to executors (what to do when) and on the 15th with things an executor might find (what to do with). Penny assists clients throughout Toronto, York Region and the surrounding area.
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