An executor is a person (or institution) appointed by an individual to carry out the terms of that individual's will after death. The executor is now called a personal representative in Alberta, although most people commonly still use the term executor.
- Locate and examine the Will; review for specific instructions concerning the funeral; locate witnesses, if necessary
- Make funeral arrangements, if necessary
- Obtain original copies of proof of death certification.
- Assess financial needs of immediate family and of the estate
- Forward mail, discontinue telephone, newspaper, magazine subscriptions, etc.
- Contact all persons properly interested in the estate - set expectations and give them an overview of the process, from probate to distribution.
- Arrange for care and adoption of pets
- Verify that adequate insurance is in place to protect all real assets
- Obtain a vacancy permit for any real property
- Re-direct utility bills to executor
- Notify the banks and financial institutions where the deceased held accounts or had other dealings
- Open an estate account to deposit income and pay expenses (may need probate for this)
- Arrange for safekeeping of deceased’s valuables
- Arrange for the residence to be emptied and cleaned, locks to be changed, and if required, the property to be sold.
- Search for assets, contact banks and investment firms, investigate past tax returns for asset information
- Initiate settlement of life insurance or group insurance policies and pension benefits
- Contact deceased’s employer to verify salary and/or benefits owing and to determine any health, pension, retiree, or death benefits to which the spouse or family may be entitled
- List contents of safe-deposit box
- Inspect real estate titles, leases, mortgages, etc.
- Cancel CPP and OAS benefits, Alberta Seniors Benefit, Alberta Health Care, if applicable
- Apply for and collect CPP death benefit
- Contact Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to cancel GST and child tax benefits, if applicable
- Arrange for valuing assets – determine market value as at date of death and original purchase price for each asset for taxation purposes
- Arrange for Notice to Creditors
- Cancel credit card accounts and either return credit cards to issuers or destroy them
- Cancel social insurance card, passport, driver’s license, and health insurance card, if required
- Locate all original investment certificates, stocks, bonds, property deeds, etc.
- Identify, value and record estate assets as of the date of death
- Investigate all debts owed by the deceased
- Instruct lawyer to draft Application, Affidavits and other necessary documents for submissions to Surrogate Court
*Note: the Grant of Probate attests to the validity of the Will and confirms who is acting as executor
- Receive Grant of Probate or Administration
- Close out bank accounts and place funds in estate account
- Close out safety deposit box
- Distribute specific bequests/personal belongings to respective beneficiaries according to the terms of the Will – arrange for sale if advisable
- Register securities and bonds in Executor’s name; determine whether such should be held, sold or transferred to beneficiaries
- Obtain transmission of estate real property into Executor’s name – sell or manage property as required
- Submit necessary claims for insurance and annuities payable to estate
- Determine validity of creditor claims and discharge estate debts where and when appropriate
- Review the suitability of investments held in the estate and recommend assets to be sold to meet cash requirements
- Invest any surplus cash until estate is finalized, selecting from allowable investments
- Complete documentation and arrange to transfer employment, health, pension and retiree benefits
- Pay all debts and settle all legitimate claims prior to final distribution of assets, obtaining receipts for any payments made
- T1 Terminal tax return to be filed April 30 of the year following death or 6 months following the date of death, whichever date is later
- Obtain copies of prior tax returns (3 years) filed by the deceased
Please note that this document provides general information only, and is not intended to provide specific legal advice. You should consult with a lawyer before acting on any information obtained from the use of this document.