I Have Been Appointed as an Executor in a Will, Now What?

At some point in our lives, many of us will be appointed as an executor in a will, and most of us will have no training or understanding of what is required.  The following is a very brief introduction to the responsibility.

An individual, the will-maker, typically appoints an executor and an alternate executor in his or her will.  The responsibilities of the executor in a will can vary significantly from estate to estate, however, the following is a list of basic tasks that the executor typically performs:

  • obtaining a copy of the will to determine and notify the beneficiaries;
  • determining all of the estate assets, including bank accounts, property, vehicles, etc.;
  • cancelling subscriptions, tenancies and credit cards, redirecting mail and wrapping up other personal matters;
  • determining all of the estate debts, including taxes, mortgage, loans, etc.;
  • if necessary, applying for probate. Depending on the value of the estate, and the nature of the assets, probate may not be necessary;
  • preparing and paying the deceased’s taxes;
  • paying out the creditors; and
  • preparing an accounting for the estate assets and paying out the beneficiaries.

In performing the executor’s duties, the executor has the right to charge a fee of up to 5.0% of the gross aggregate value of the estate for acting as executor, unless the will states otherwise.  It should be noted that the fee is considered income by the Canada Revenue Agency and is taxable.

The foregoing is a very brief overview of the steps involved when acting as an executor.  If you are appointed as an executor in a will and have questions, please feel free to contact Sitka Law Group.  We are happy to provide you with the level of support you require, from simply advising on the process, to preparing the probate application, to assisting throughout the process including paying creditors, disbursing to beneficiaries, selling properties and liaising with the accountants.

Sitka Law is conveniently located on Shelbourne Street near the intersection of the borders of Victoria, Saanich and Oak Bay.