When someone dies, his or her assets will need to be distributed in some manner. Sometimes the probate also known as the certificate of appointment of his or her estate is required by a court application, and sometimes it is not. In either case, the administration of the estate consists of:
- Assembling the assets of the deceased person
- Moving towards the distribution of these assets
- Paying taxes and obligations along the way
This work is primarily done by the Executor of the estate, also known as the Estate Trustee.
The Estate Trustee (Executor) is the person you name in your Will to have the legal responsibility to administer your estate after your death. Often people name a family member or a close friend as their Estate Trustee but here are some characteristics of the ideal Estate Trustee (Executor):
- Lives in the same area as you;
- Has experience managing money and dealing with financial institutions;
- Can deal with your relatives and beneficiaries objectively;
- Is comfortable dealing with lawyers and accountants;
- Has the time to spend settling your estate;
- Is organized and not afraid to ask for professional help when needed;
You should appoint a primary Estate Trustee (Executor) and an alternate in your Will. This is important because your primary Estate Trustee (Executor) may predecease you.
- The Estate Trustee (Executor) has a very clearly defined role in the administration of the estate:
- Attending to the funeral and burial arrangements;
- Proving the will (if necessary);
- Collecting and protecting estate assets; paying creditors and satisfying liabilities (including taxes owing);
- Distributing specific bequests and conveying devices of real property; and finally, distributing the residue of the estate
In the case of trusts that are defined in the Will, the Estate Trustee (Executor) may also have to establish one or more trusts for specified beneficiaries and administer any such trust until the time specified for final distribution.
Acting as an Estate Trustee (Executor) can be challenging. You should give this responsibility to someone you trust and someone who possesses the above-mentioned characteristics.
Our firm deals with estate disputes or confusion that might arise when someone passes away, including:
- What is to be done if there is no will
- If there are multiple wills being advanced by different persons
- If the will is ambiguous, poorly drafted, or hard to understand
- What can be done if there is a lack of co-operation between family members, executors, and beneficiaries
There are solutions to these problems and our lawyers can provide them.
Our firm has many years of experience in concluding this work and have uniquely experienced staff to assist. Our goal is to make sure you are comfortable with all the steps that are taken, and that each step is explain, and why they are or are not necessary as the administration of the estate progresses.
- Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee
- Estate Administration
- Estate Trustee
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