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Carrying Out Final Wishes

Estate administration can sometimes get complicated

Perhaps the greatest favour one person can do for another is to administer his or her estate. It is, by its nature, a thankless task, but also a very important one. Unfortunately, few people know exactly what estate administration consists of in British Columbia, beyond the distribution of assets. This article will touch on some of the potential complications an executor or executrix might face.

One of the basic questions people ask about being an executor is, "will it be difficult?" There is no one answer for this query; the level of difficulty will fluctuate largely in accordance with the complexity of the estate. A small estate with simple assets, like a car and house, will be reasonably simple to administer. However, the difficulty level could be brought up a few notches if, say, numerous beneficiaries are named, or if the deceased owned a business. Having debts to settle can also complicate matters.

Another possible wrinkle is the naming of more than one executor. Should this be the case, the executors will have to work together to administer the estate. While this may seem as if it would save time and ease the burden, the opposite might be true if a consensus cannot be reached on any given matter. If an agreement can't be made on, for example, whether to sell a vacation property, the matter may have to go before a judge. It could even become necessary for the beneficiaries to have the executors removed.

Listing all the potential challenges of estate administration is beyond the scope of a brief article. That is not to say it isn't a task worth taking on; indeed, it may be very satisfying to have the chance to help out a loved one one last time. However, there is certainly no shame in asking for help. A caring lawyer who knows the ins and outs of estate law in British Columbia could make the whole process much easier to bear.

Source: publiclegaled.bc.ca, "Being an executor", Accessed on Feb. 14, 2017

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