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Carrying Out Final Wishes

What must be done when probating an estate?

If you are in charge of probating an estate, it can be confusing trying to remember to cross every "t" and dot every "i." But yet it must be done correctly or you could face financial and legal liabilities for being remiss in your duties. Below are some important tasks to check off of your list.

-- Make sure that you have closed all credit and bank accounts that the deceased had. Safeguard any cash by opening an estate account.

-- Make a claim for all available pension or death benefits from Canada Pension, former employers and unions.

-- Collect any monies due the deceased from insurance or salaries.

-- Make application to transfer assets like vehicles, real estate, financial instruments and anything with registered titles. Estate assets get transferred to the executor first and then to the beneficiaries.

-- Maintain records of all transactions, paid out invoices and income received. Make copies of all correspondence sent out.

Reasonable expenses of the estate should be paid. This can include funeral and burial expenses, legal fees, probate costs and taxes.

Sometimes, the estate will not have enough money to pay out all of the expenses. In order to avoid being personally liable for any debts, you should seek legal counsel to discuss your options.

Wait six months to distribute what remains of the estate after probate is granted to ensure that no challenges to the will are made. Then, distribute legacies and personal bequests to those named in the will.

Draft a final statement of debts, assets, income and expenses. Include the names of the beneficiaries and what was distributed to whom. Anything that remains has to be distributed properly according to British Columbia law. Seeking legal advice is advisable to avoid making any mistakes or being accused of impropriety.

Source: People's Law School, "Probate Checklist," accessed Jan. 22, 2016

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Marie-Louise Fast Marie-Louise Fast Lawyer & Notary Lawyer Profile

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