When a loved one dies, as the executor you have the overwhelming responsibility of wrapping up your loved one’s life. There are many things to sort out, from organizing a funeral to dealing with banks and credit card companies. To do so you need to have a clear mind and laser-sharp focus, and it isn’t easy doing it in what is usually a pretty emotional time.
Although the responsibility lies in your hands, don’t be so hard on yourself. Ask for help when you need it.
The following list is not nearly exhaustive, but it is drafted to try and help make the process a little clearer:
- Gather all important documents.
This includes any wills and any codicils; the deceased’s birth, marriage and death certificates; any separation agreements, court orders or judgments; and financial papers.
- Bury the deceased according to the wishes in their will. If you have any questions or concerns about this, or are considering burying against their wishes, please contact a lawyer first.
- Safeguard the assets of the estate.
- List all assets of the estate and state their value at the time of your loved one’s death.
- Arrange to prepare and apply for a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee.
Contact a lawyer to discuss your responsibilities as estate trustee. The lawyer can apply for the Certificate.
- Apply for Canada Pension Plan death benefits.
- Record all the money you spend or receive as executor. You are entitled to be repaid from the estate for your reasonable expenses. Also, keep a diary of the steps you take as executor: telephone calls made, interviews attended, mail sent or received, time spent, and so on.
- Arrange to prepare and file income tax returns.
Contact an accountant to discuss the tax liabilities of the deceased. The accountant can file the returns.
- List the names and addresses of all those who must be legally notified. Depending on the circumstances, these people may include beneficiaries under the will or potential heirs where there is no will, current or previous spouses, all children, other next-of-kin, and anyone else who might make a claim on the estate or who might dispute the will.
The probate process can be complex and it can be time consuming. Contact Zeeshan S. Baig – Toronto Probate Lawyer, at (647) 771-0130 to book your probate consultation today. To prepare for your consultation, please complete this intake questionnaire.