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Carrying Out Final Wishes

Funeral costs are often the first matter of estate administration

There are many responsibilities suddenly heaped upon the executor after a person dies. The order in which these responsibilities need to be handled is not always readily apparent. However, one of the very first tasks of estate administration In British Columbia is arranging the funeral.

It is quite possible the deceased left instructions for his or her funeral in the will. It is the duty of the executor to ensure they are followed. In their absence, it still falls to the executor to make plans, although consulting with close family may help in determining the wishes of the deceased.

Paying for the funeral, if it has not be prepaid, is also up to the executor. Generally, the funds will come from the estate. The bank can usually be persuaded to pay the funeral home directly. Depending on the circumstances of the death, there may be other sources of funding available.

If the deceased was employed, the Canada Pension Plan may provide a death benefit. WorkSafeBC may pay a death benefit if the person died on the job. In the event of a fatal motor vehicle accident, ICBC benefits may be available. Employers, unions and trade associations sometimes offer funds after an employee or member has passed away. It may be worth contacting any appropriate organizations as soon as possible.

Though a funeral is a time of closure for some, for the executor it is quite close to the beginning of a potentially arduous task. For assistance with all aspects of estate administration, it may be worth speaking with an estate lawyer. His or her experience with British Columbia estate law can help an executor through a difficult time.

Source:, "Estate and Personal Trust Services Frequently Asked Questions", Accessed on April 3, 2017

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