If you have been named the Executor for a loved one who has passed away, you may feel overwhelmed by the many tasks and responsibilities involved. You are already experiencing grief, loss and other strong emotions from losing a loved one and may not know where to begin as Executor. Our Guide to Executor’s Duties explains the main things that you, as Executor, should be looking after so you can feel confident and in control of your Executor duties.

Click here to get a free copy of our Executor’s Cheat Sheet.

The executor (called the “personal representative” in alberta) is the person appointed by the will to administer the estate and has many duties.

If you have been named as someone’s executor, the first decision you need to make is deciding if you want to take on the responsibility of being the executor. you don’t have to act as executor just because someone has named you in their will, and there are many reasons why you would choose to not be the executor.

The executor’s main duties are (1) identify the estate assets and liabilities, (2) administer and manage the estate, (3) satisfy the estate’s debts and obligations, and (4) distribute and account for the administration of the estate.

“Probate” is the process of making the will official. during the probate process the court decides if the will is valid and (hopefully) approves it and accepts it as the person’s true last testament.

Most executors will only act as executor once or twice in their lifetime so they find the court application process overwhelming, confusing and time-consuming. We use our extensive experience to make the process as simple as possible for our clients.

There are different types of court applications for estates. the most common types are:

  1. Probate – made by the executor named in the will
  2. Administration with Will Annexed – made if the person had a will but the executors named are unable (or unwilling) to act
  3. Administration – made if there is no will

There are many other types of applications that are used depending on the situation. Unsure what type of application you need for your situation? We’re here to help!

It’s important to be aware of tax when dealing with an estate.

You may have heard that Canada does not have any estate or inheritance tax. however, when a Canadian resident passes away, the government taxes the person as if the person sold all of his or her property at fair value. This often results in significant tax that must be paid out of the estate assets.

The estate is considered a trust for tax purposes and will be taxed accordingly, separately from the deceased individual, although there are special rules and elections that may apply. If the estate realizes tax losses, the executor may be able to elect to carry back some or all of those losses to reduce the tax for the deceased individual.

Double tax can happen if the deceased person owned shares in a private corporation when he or she died. Our team can help you tax plan to eliminate this double tax.