Garton & Harris

Are you named as estate executor? Know your responsibilities

For most British Columbia citizens, being named as an estate executor is an honour. Executors take this responsibility seriously and want to do right by the deceased. Unfortunately, the depth of an estate executor's duties can quickly overwhelm a person. If you have been named as executor or if you are in the process of choosing an executor for your estate, it is a good idea to find out what will be required.

Research is always beneficial. With the plethora of information available on the Internet, it is pretty easy to discover a list of responsibilities or duties an executor must undertake. However, just having a list is not typically enough to prepare the executor. Seeking guidance from a legal professional not only supplements the information discovered through research, it also prepares all involved parties for the overall scope of this important responsibility.

In addition to arranging the funeral and protecting the deceased's assets, estate administration involves many other tasks that often take executors by surprise, including:

-- Identifying the deceased's assets

-- Maintaining communication with beneficiaries

-- Managing the estate's taxes and debts

-- Distributing assets to beneficiaries

-- Applying for probate, if necessary

Many of the above tasks require a lot of effort on the part of the estate administrator or executor. If he or she is not prepared for the responsibility, it could cause unforeseen problems. A good rule of thumb for those engaged in estate planning is to discuss the role of executor in-depth with the person you wish to name. A good rule of thumb for those already appointed executor is to seek advice from a lawyer.

With planning and forethought, the role of executor need not be fraught with problems. Learn more by browsing the wills and estates section of our website.

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