What Does an Executor of a Will Do in British Columbia?

The probate process can be confusing, administration heavy, and can take its toll on your time and energy.

Posted on October 30, 2021 by Alex Gauthier
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You may have recently lost someone you love and have been nominated as their estate executor. Aside from the extreme emotional strain brought on by losing a close friend or family member, dealing with the practical matters of death is quite a noteworthy duty.

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The probate process can be confusing, administration heavy, and can take its toll on your time and energy. Depending on the circumstances, it can be relatively straightforward. However, if there are questions about the validity of the will or if named beneficiaries contest the will, it can turn into a long and grueling endeavor.

Our aim is to provide you with the fundamental information about being an estate executor to make the process much smoother.

An estate executor is a person who has been assigned the responsibility of settling the estate of a recently deceased person. Oftentimes, when an individual creates a will, they will name a highly trusted close friend, partner, or family member as their estate executor.

Even when an individual has been named estate executor, they may still need to go through probate in order to verify the authenticity of the will if the estate is very complex or large.

In instances where there is no will made and the deceased left no indication of who they would like to manage their estate settlement, the probate court will assign the role, usually to the next of kin. In British Columbia, the probate court bestows a ‘grant of administration' onto that person. They will then be legally permitted to manage the distribution of the deceased's assets.

A grant of administration may be used to assign an administrator if:

  • There was no executor nominated
  • The named executor has since died
  • The executor has chosen not to proceed with their probate application

Even if you've been nominated to be an estate executor by the testator, it is not mandatory to accept the responsibility. Before deciding to take on the responsibility it's important to know what you're signing up for.

Here are a few things to consider before becoming an estate executor in British Columbia:

  • Under certain circumstances, you may be personally liable
  • There are various opportunities for conflict to arise with beneficiaries, which can result in a prolonged settlement process
  • The costs of time, energy, and well-being

Every country, state, or province may have its own laws associated with estate settlement and duties can vary between regions. The probate laws in British Columbia regarding the rights and responsibilities of an estate executor are discussed below.

Making funeral arrangement

The estate executor is in charge of making funeral arrangements as set forth in the deceased’s will.

Evaluation of assets and debts

It is the responsibility of the estate executor to track down all estate assets and compile any debts owed by the estate. They will need to create a comprehensive inventory and keep it for the record. The executor will also have to oversee the payment of any outstanding debts through the estate.

Gathering information of all beneficiaries and next-of-kin

Next-of-kin and beneficiaries must be contacted and be informed of their inheritance.

Subscriptions, mail, and personal matters

Any ongoing subscriptions in the name of the deceased must be canceled, and important mail must be redirected to the estate executor so that they can manage their official and personal matters.

Paying outstanding taxes

The estate executor is responsible for filing a final tax return for the deceased, as well as filing an income tax return for the estate if it’s been generating income during the settlement process.

Distributing assets to beneficiaries

Estate executors must divide the estate in compliance with the will and distribute it to the beneficiaries named in the will.

If you’re currently feeling overwhelmed with the estate settlement process or would just like some help in making the process quicker, easier, and more efficient, ClearEstate is here for you. Get in touch for a free consultation today.