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Safety deposit boxes and estate administration

When a person in British Columbia dies, leaving behind a safety deposit box leased or rented either solely in his or her name or shared with another person, the law provides how the box should be opened and handled. This is important to ensure that the contents of the safety deposit box are correctly accounted for and included in the deceased person's estate.

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.

Unclaimed gifts and beneficiaries who cannot be located

If an individual living in British Columbia has been named in a will as a beneficiary but is unable to be located, there are several steps that must be taken. First, the personal representative of the individual who wrote the will must spend 12 months attempting to locate the beneficiary. If the personal representative is unsuccessful, that individual is then permitted to sell the property and deduct the amount that was spent on storage, sale and transportation. The remaining money is then placed in a trust.

How the location of the executor can affect an estate

Individuals in British Columbia who are working on their estate plan may wonder whether the location of the estate executor has any impact on their estate. After a person's death, the residency of their estate will be the same as the residency of the estate executor. The executor's location, therefore, can have a major impact on how the estate is taxed.

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