Navigating Estate Executors’ Duties in Alberta

Navigating Estate Executors’ Duties in Alberta

In Alberta the executor of an estate is called the personal representative. When a person prepares a will, they name one or more people to be their personal representative. When this person dies, the estate passes temporarily to the personal representative. The job of the personal representative is to pay all the testator's outstanding debts, including taxes, and then distribute the estate according to the testator's instructions. Our Edmonton wills and estates lawyers may be able to help you to navigate estate executor's duties in Alberta.

What Are the Executor's Duties?

The duties of the executor are listed in the Estate Administration Act and include four core tasks. The first is to identify the assets and liabilities of the estate. This task may include:

  • - applying for any benefits to which the estate is entitled, such as life insurance benefits or death benefits
  • - identifying and locating all property owned by the testator, including the contents of any safe deposit boxes
  • - identifying any outstanding debts owed by the testator and the testator's ongoing financial obligations.

The next core task is the administration and management of the estate pending its distribution. This may include:

  • - applying for a grant of probate from the court, if necessary
  • - hiring professional help from a lawyer or an accountant, the costs of which are typically paid by the estate
  • - running or winding up a business
  • - maintaining real estate property
  • - arranging for property to be sold, depending on the instructions in the will
  • - starting or defending a legal action on behalf of the estate.

The executor is also responsible for the satisfaction of debts and obligations of the estate. This may include:

  • - filing tax returns for the deceased
  • - paying taxes for the year of the deceased's death as well as any outstanding tax debt from previous years
  • - paying for the funeral of the deceased and any burial or cremation costs
  • - advertising to locate creditors
  • - paying off any outstanding debts including mortgages, personal loans and credit cards.

The final duty of the executor is the distribution of the estate to the beneficiaries as instructed in the will and may include:

  • - transferring title to property and physically distributing assets
  • - managing a trust
  • - accounting to the beneficiaries for the administration and management of the estate and for any compensation the executor took for performing their duties.

Being the executor of a will is a big responsibility. It can take a lot of time and energy. If you do not have the time or are not comfortable with the responsibility, you do not have to accept the job just because you were named in the will. If there is no alternate named in the will, the court can appoint an executor.

You are entitled to be compensated for the time you spend performing your executor's duties. You must keep track of all payments you have made out of, or on behalf of, the estate for an accounting to the beneficiaries. This will include any compensation you took as the executor. If the beneficiaries do not accept your accounting, you can apply to the court to approve your accounts.

Contact our Edmonton Wills and Estates Lawyers Today For a Consultation

If you are drafting a will, or have been named the executor of an estate in someone else's will, it may be beneficial to speak with a lawyer who may help you understand your legal rights. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with our Edmonton wills and estates lawyers, and see how we might be of help to you.

*Note that this article does not constitute legal advice. It is a general overview on the subject of estate executors' duties in Alberta. Please consult with a lawyer for legal advice.

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