The Role Of The Executor Or Estate Trustee

Executors have many duties, including administering the estate, converting everything into cash, and paying the bills.

Most important, executors must make sure that taxes are paid, because, if they are not paid, the executors are responsible for those liabilities.

Generally the executor is the spouse of the deceased. If anything happens to the spouse, then a provision might be made for one or two of the children to jointly hold the position. When the position is held jointly, the children must decide together how to resolve all of the issues. As experienced estate lawyers, we help by explaining the duties to the executors and working in conjunction with them to settle the estate. It can take a year to resolve a simple estate.

Before any monies can be paid out, all the taxes owing by the deceased person must be paid. The executor needs to file an income tax return to get a final clearance from Revenue Canada that states the account is clear. If a house must be sold, the executor needs to arrange for the home to be taken care of while it is being sold, and later dispose of the contents. The executor needs to ensure that the best price possible for the house is obtained and the money from the sale needs to be put into a special account.

The executor is also responsible for any debts of the deceased. If the deceased carried on a business and there is no way of knowing who all the creditors may be, the executor has to advertise to the creditors. By putting a notice in the newspaper, the executor is protected.

When all the money has been gathered from the estate, the executor needs to prepare an estate account that details all the money and estate transactions to date. The beneficiaries need to accept the estate account and agree that it has been properly administered. Once they have signed a release, the executor can pay out the money to them. The executor has the right to charge a fee for the work done based on the value of the estate. Usually, the fee is 5% of the value of the estate.

If you, or someone you care about, is dealing with estate law issues in the Subdury, Ontario Region, contact Ronald G. Renzini for a consultation.

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This article is taken from a May, 2009 interview with Ronald G. Renzini, Estate Lawyer with Paquette Renzini Law Office, a Subdury, Ontario Wills and Estate Law Firm. Note that laws vary from province to province. Please consult with a lawyer in your own area to be sure of the laws and specific issues in your own jurisdiction.