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Carrying Out Final Wishes

Protecting estate assets as an executor

If you are the executor of someone's estate, it's incumbent upon you to preserve and protect the assets that now belong to the estate.

Sometimes this is relatively simple, such as locking up the decedent's former home with their property safe inside. But other times, it may be far more difficult. For instance, if there are valuable pieces of jewelry or collectibles, these may need to be insured for safekeeping.

If the decedent owned multiple properties, each must be secured and managed appropriately. If they were owners of a commercial property such as an apartment building or other rentals, the executor is responsible for ensuring that it is under competent management, that rents are being collected and repairs made as necessary.

If there is a business involved, like a retail store or a restaurant that the decedent managed his- or herself, its ongoing management must be assured. This could mean that the estate administrator must interview and hire candidates to carry out these duties, or appoint a family member of the decedent to manage the business.

The more complex the estate of the decedent is, the more work there will be for the estate administrator. One can start off the process with the best of intentions, but then quickly realize that he or she is in way over head and be forced to call in some professionals to take over or simply to provide advice and counsel about some particularly thorny issues.

There's no shame in needing a little help. Retaining a competent estate administration lawyer in British Columbia can streamline the process and protect executors from personal liability from mistakes they may otherwise make.

Source: People's Law School, "Being an Executor," accessed Sep. 30, 2016

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