Carrying Out Your Loved One's Final Wishes

Being named executor is an honour. It means that the deceased trusted you to speak on his or her behalf, and take care of his or her family and property.

When you are carrying out final wishes, it's often more than just a matter of following instructions on the will. You will need to:

  • Apply for probate with a will
  • Locate estate assets, which may include real estate, bank accounts, insurance policies, RRSPs and investments
  • Locate beneficiaries and creditors
  • Fill out life insurance claims
  • Contact utility companies and credit card companies
  • Evaluate the property, including business property
  • Arrange for any necessary sales, including sales of real estate
  • Distribute assets
  • File income tax returns and pay taxes
  • Keep accurate records

At Fast & Company Law Firm, our lawyer and staff can give you guidance and advice — or take over those duties entirely, if you need us to.

Possible Trouble Spots

Unfortunately, being an executor can be a thankless and sometimes risky task. Many aspects of your role as executor may lead to estate litigation.

For example, a frequent source of difficulty concerns property that may or may not be part of the estate. For example, if the deceased owns property with somebody else, such as a home shared with his or her spouse or a joint bank account, generally it will simply go to the co-owner. Unfortunately, the testator may have believed the property was his or hers to give to somebody else, or it may have been jointly held with someone who is also now deceased.

A number of assets may not be part of the estate, including:

  • Joint tenancy homes
  • Bank accounts with right of survivorship
  • Assets held in an inter vivos (living) trust
  • Assets with a named beneficiary (e.g. RRSPs, tax free savings plans, life insurance)

You could also be held personally liable for any debts if all of the property is distributed and a creditor remains unpaid, or if there are errors or delays in filing the final tax return.

We handle complications efficiently and sensitively, understanding that during this delicate time, long-simmering family disputes may be intensified by the emotional toll of the recent loss.

Our aim is to help you avoid personal liability for inheritance disputes and other legal complications.

Contact Fast & Company Law Firm

Call our Richmond office at 604-273-6424.