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The role of a legal representative

The legal representative of a decedent is the individual either appointed by the court as the administrator of the estate or named executor of the will in British Columbia and other provinces. In Quebec, this role applies to the person named liquidator of the estate as well. A representative has certain legal responsibilities to fulfill, though the legal representative may name a second person as authorized representative in their place by filing Form T1013 with the Canada Revenue Agency.

The Canada Revenue Agency states that a legal representative's first task is to advise both the CRA and Service Canada of the individual's death. The legal representative must send the CRA a copy of the death certificate, the deceased's social insurance number, and proof of their appointment as representative. This proof can be either a probate grant, administrative letters or a complete copy of the will.

The legal representative must also file the deceased's final return and ensure that their taxes are paid. A representative will likely need certain tax information to do so, and can request such information when informing the CRA of the individual's death. The representative must also file any tax returns the deceased failed to file in previous years. It is the legal representative's responsibility to inform all beneficiaries about which parts of their inheritance are taxable, as well as to file a T3 form for any income the estate made after the death but prior to distribution.

Estate administration can be a complicated role to take on, particularly for someone who has no previous experience. A legal representative who is uncertain how best to proceed may wish to consider obtaining the services of a probate and estate administration lawyer for advice and counsel.

Source: Canada Revenue Agency, "Legal representative", December 17, 2014

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