Garton & Harris

The role of an executor in estate administration

There are many terms associated with wills. Those who are involved in any form of estate planning and administration will have likely come across the term executor. So what, exactly, does an executor do? A person named as an executor of an estate wears many hats. 

An executor's main job is to carry out the last wishes of the testator - or the one who writes the will. There can be more than one executor for a will, and they can work in tandem in these instances. An executor must have a clear picture of all the debts and assets of the estate along with a list of beneficiaries. It is incumbent upon the executor to pay all the debts of the estate, including filing a final tax return for the deceased. In addition, an executor is responsible for jobs like cancelling subscriptions, cancelling credit cards, and stopping mail and other personal items connected to the deceased.

Naming an executor is extremely important when it comes to wills and estate plans. If the deceased dies intestate - or without a will - there obviously won't be an executor. In this case, there are some people who may be able to apply for what is known as a grant of administration, meaning they would be able to look after the estate legally.

There are many legal aspects to estate planning and administration, with some seemingly more complex than others. Obtaining legal advice can help to clear up any confusion during the planning process, and it can allow for a much smoother transition after a loved one passes. A British Columbia lawyer experienced with such matters can protect one's rights during this trying time, and he or she also may be able to help clear up any issues that seem erroneous. 

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