Your duties as the executor of a will

Duties as an executor

Nov 8, 2016

Being chosen or appointed as the executor of a will is an important and complicated duty. When you are chosen as the personal representative of someone’s will, you are not only required to hand out the estates property, but you are also responsible for wrapping up the personal affairs of the deceased.

Generally, an executor assembles the estates assets, pays the estate’s debts and then divides the remaining assets to beneficiaries appointed in the will.

Before you agree to be an executor

The role of an executor is time-consuming and should not be agreed upon lightly. You should consider the overall responsibility and tasks involved in the appointment. It is important to understand, that once you have dealt with assets belonging to the estate, you automatically become legally bound to the role. If you are not named as executor by the deceased in a will, the court may appoint you as executor of a will. To confirm that you are an executor of a will, you must check the original will.

Confirm the will

You must locate the will and codicil(s) and have a lawyer review the will. Wills can be filed in Ontario court, you can contact the court where the will would have been filed to check. Wills are also traditionally kept in a safety deposit box, the deceased’s home or at the office of the lawyer.

Determine if probate is required, this depends on the estates assets and whether your role as executor may be contested. The process of probate will grant the will legally validity. You will then have permission to carry out the wishes of the deceased person.

Your duties as executor of a will may include:

  • Arranging the funeral and paying for the funeral
    • Obtaining death certificate
  • Securing the assets of the deceased
    • Preparing an inventory assets
    • Keeping completing records of executor role
  • Retaining a lawyer
  • Paying the debts and taxes, notify creditors
    • Insurance, credit cards, mortgage, bills, property & income taxes
  • Notifying the beneficiaries
  • Distributing the assets of the estate to the beneficiaries.

The list of duties an executor may take on is long and time consuming the above just begins to cover the complex role of an executor. It can be helpful to create and follow a checklist of duties to ensure due diligence.

Find a Niagara Wills and Estates Lawyer

Chown, Cairns’ Wills and Estates team can help you to meet your goals whether you need to create an estate plan or require guidance through your duties as an executor, connect with one of our Niagara Wills and Estates lawyers below.

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