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Carrying Out Final Wishes

What you must do as the decedent's legal representative

One of the duties of a deceased person's legal representative is dealing with their tax situation. It might be up to you to handle tax matters if:

-- You are liquidating an estate

-- The court appointed you administrator of the decedent's estate

-- You were named as executor in the person's will

Legal representatives have the authority to appoint someone as authorized representative to handle tax matters with the Canada Revenue Agency. In order to do so, you must complete and mail (no faxes accepted) Form T1013 to the agency.

Legal representatives must provide the CRA with the date of the decedent's death at the first opportunity, either by mail, calling 800-959-8281 or by filling out the form "Request for the Canada Revenue Agency to Update Records."

The following information is also needed:

-- Copy of the death certificate

-- Copy of the decedent's will, letters of administration indicating you have been named as legal representative or the grant of probate.

If, as executor, liquidator or trustee, you are paid fees to carry out your duties, this must be reported as income. The exception would be if fees were included as part of your business income.

Sometimes a deceased person's relative may be unable to obtain the documents necessary to be established as legal representative. Submit a request detailing your situation to the tax centre for the deceased.

All communications with the CRA must include the social insurance number of the deceased. It must also accompany the final return.

Additionally, make sure that you notify Service Canada that the decedent has passed on, and include the date of death.

Legal representatives have the responsibility to:

-- Ensure all taxes owed get paid

-- Inform beneficiaries of any taxable sums they receive from the deceased

-- File all returns as required for the decedent

If the deceased was remiss in filing returns for any tax years, the legal representative must then file.

T3 Trust Income Tax and Information Return must be filed for income to the estate that was earned after the decedent died.

There are some exceptions to that rule, and returns for a trust can be complex matters. It is often better to engage the services of an estate lawyer to make sure that everything is done according to the terms of the law.

Source: Canada Revenue Agency, "Legal representative," accessed April 08, 2016

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