Garton & Harris

Estate administration: Dealing with an insolvent estate

Being named as a beneficiary of some estates may not exactly be a windfall. During the estate administration process it may be found that some British Columbia estates are actually insolvent. In other words, they have more debts associated with them than assets and that can pose problems for beneficiaries and executors who should be aware of what to do and what not to do in such cases.

During the administration of an insolvent estate, an executor has to be very mindful about which expenses need to be paid out of the estate. Insolvent estates can be nightmares for executors, so before agreeing to become an executor of an estate, an individual shouldn't shy away from asking a testator some pointed questions before agreeing to the task. Once an executor begins accessing information regarding a testator's account, he or she must accept the challenge of administering the estate. In other words, he or she can no longer say no to the job.

An executor has more decisions to make with an insolvent estate. When it comes to creditors associated with the estate, an executor needs to be more mindful regarding the ranking of debts and the priority in which they need to be paid. It can be extremely stressful for an executor.

Estate administration of an insolvent estate likely needs the help of an experienced British Columbia lawyer. An executor in such a case may need extra help and may have many more questions regarding what likely will be a more complex task. It may be best to get the guidance of a lawyer before moving forward in any estate administration duties in this regard.  

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