In most cases, in order to complete estate administration duties, you must obtain a grant of probate or a grant of administration from the Court appointing you as the personal representative of the Deceased.
If a person dies without a valid will, he or she is deemed to have died “intestate” and the estate must be distributed in accordance with rigid, preset rules that are set out in the Wills, Estates and Succession Act (WESA).
One of the primary duties of the personal representative is to ensure that the property of the Deceased is protected and insured. You should verify that all existing insurance policies are adequate and sufficient (e.g. if the residence of the Deceased is vacant, the insurance may have to be changed) and that all valuables (e.g. jewellery, vehicles and personal documents) are properly stored and insured.
The personal representative also has a variety of other duties, including:
- accounting to beneficiaries;
- filing a final tax return on behalf of Deceased and filing Estate returns;
- notifying creditors;
- cancelling credit cards and subscriptions; and
- informing government agencies (e.g. Canada Pension Plan) of the death.
Consulting a lawyer early in the estate administration process ensures that the administration proceeds in an efficient fashion. If you are named as executor in a will, we can assist you in obtaining probate and advise you on every aspect of the administration of the estate. Similarly, if you wish to apply to be appointed as the representative of a person who died without a will, we can prepare this application as well.