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Wills, Trusts & Estates

Helping You Navigate Through the Complexities of Estate Administration & the Probate Process

Acting as the personal representative of a deceased (either as an executor appointed under will or an administrator appointed by the court) is a serious responsibility and can take a lot of time and effort. As the personal representative, you have legal obligations. The process of estate administration may seem straightforward; however, technical requirements imposed by various pieces of legislation must be met.

By failing to meet these technical requirements and/or breaching their fiduciary obligations, personal representatives may expose themselves to potential personal liability under the Income Tax Act and the creditors of the deceased. The estate lawyers at BKS Law will guide you through the process of estate administration. We will advise you of your fiduciary obligations, help you perform your duties with greater efficiency, and assist with protecting you from personal liability.

Duties of a Personal Representative

The personal representative of an estate, also known as the administrator or executor, has many responsibilities, including:

  • Gathering in and safeguarding the assets of the estate.
  • Paying the debts of the deceased and estate.
  • Distributing assets to beneficiaries.
  • Filing the deceased’s final tax return and estate returns.
  • Cancelling the deceased’s charge accounts and subscriptions.
  • Informing government agencies, such as Canada Pension Plan, about the death.
  • Preparing an estate accounting for the beneficiaries.
Depending on the deceased’s assets, it may be necessary to apply to the Supreme Court of British Columbia for a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration. Consulting with a lawyer early in the estate administration process will ensure that the administration proceeds as timely and efficiently as possible, as well as reduce the likelihood of personal liability, stress, and frustration.

The Lawyer’s Role

BKS Law can help personal representatives of estates by:
  • Handling all aspects of probate and estate administration. This includes identification and notification of beneficiaries, preparation of applications for estate grant (a grant of probate or letters of administration), probate filings, and, if requested, assisting in the distribution of assets and payment of debts.
  • Assisting with the disposition of assets such as real estate.
  • Preparing releases to protect the personal representative.
  • Preparing accounts of the personal representative for approval by beneficiaries of the court.
  • Advising as to executor’s fees.
  • Issues related to intestacy (when a person dies without a will).