Obligations And Duties Of An Executor
With wills, probating estates or administering an intestate estate, the role of administering the estate falls to the executor, executrix, personal administrator or administrator. The title of the role will vary depending on if the deceased had a will or not. Personal representative is the new title given to an executor / executrix. The general process is described below using the term executor. Often online help is not enough to understand the duties of the administrator of an intestate estate. The Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta law firm of Kahane Law Office is here to help at (403) 225-8810 for our Calgary office and (780) 571-8463 for our Edmonton Office.
What Role Does the Executor Play?
After making the funeral arrangements, the executor must locate the will. If there is no valid will, then the process proceeds as an intestate estate. You are not alone during the process. It can be emotional, complicated and tie consuming. Generally, you may hire professionals, such as lawyers and accountants, to help properly administer the estate. Click here to learn more about getting help administering an estate.
Dealing with the Assets of the Deceased
Next, the executor must notify all the various financial institutions of the deceased and locate all the assets that will form the estate. The executor must carefully value the assets of the estate. The executor must also determine all the debts of the estate. It is usually easier to administer the estate by opening a bank account in the name of the estate.
Wills may list out specific beneficiaries. Other times it is necessary to determine who is a beneficiary. For example of the wills says “give to all my children”. The executor then locates all of the beneficiaries.
Probate Application / Application for Letters of Administration
The next step is for the executor to apply to the courts for a grant of probate. This will confirm the role of that individual as executor. Completing probate offers protection to the executor while administering the estate. During this time is it important for the executor to protect the estate’s assets. This may mean physically securing them, getting insurance, managing investments or running a business.
Managing Trusts for Minor Children
With minor children beneficiaries, the executor may have to administer the estate until the assets inherited by them vest into their name. This may mean investing funds and / or distributing interest or capital from the estate’s account for education or day to day living expenses. The executor will work with the children’s guardians.
Legal Claims Against Estates
The executor must deal with any legal claims against the estate. The estate may pay for legal help during this process. Claims can come from left out relatives, spouses or former spouses, creditors to the deceased, dependents of the deceased, etc.
Distribution to the Beneficiaries and Accounting
The last step is a distribution of the estate’s assets to the beneficiaries. Beneficiaries may be names as a beneficiary of a specific bequest or gift or they may be the beneficiary of the residue of the estate. The residue is everything left that is given as a percentage to certain people. Once distributed, the executor must give a final accounting to all the beneficiaries and close out the estate.
Getting the Help You Need as Executors
Our Edmonton and Calgary probate lawyers help you understand the role of executor both when there is a will and in situations where there is not. Kahane Law Office would be pleased to assist you in all matters relating estate administration. Please always feel free to contact us online by email, otherwise, we love to speak to people. Call (780) 571-8463 for our Edmonton office and (403) 225-8810 for the Calgary team to learn more today. If you require the Alberta public trustee, their contact information is located here.