The Responsibilities of an Executor

February 25, 2021

If you have the honor of being named as someone’s executor, you might be thinking, “Now what?” There are many responsibilities of an executor you must complete to administer the estate of your loved one.

In Alberta, we call an executor, the “Personal Representative”, regardless of gender. The terms Executor and Personal Representative are often used interchangeably.

The Responsibilities of an Executor

As Personal Representative you are responsible for the Estate’s assets and liabilities.  If you are not the only Personal Representative, the responsibility will be shared equally between you. One of the first things an executor must determine is if a Grant of Probate is required. We have a post about when probate is required here.

Your other responsibilities include:

  • making proper funeral and burial arrangements;
  • determining who the beneficiaries are and contacting them;
  • identifying, protecting and preserving any Estate assets;
  • meeting with the deceased’s bankers or other financial advisors;
  • determining the value and nature of the assets of the deceased;
  • applying for any federal, provincial or individual pension and death benefits or insurance proceeds;
  • determining what debts the deceased was responsible for and arranging for payment of these debts;
  • deciding whether to advertise for creditors and claimants;
  • hiring an accountant to help you with preparing and filing the income tax returns, paying any taxes and obtaining an income tax clearance certificate before distributing the Estate; and
  • providing an accounting to beneficiaries of the Estate, obtaining releases, and distributing and finalizing the Estate.

Legal Costs of the Estate

MHR Law LLP offers a free one hour consultation to discuss the legal aspects of administering an Estate. We will also discuss how the legal costs will be calculated. We will not charge you for any legal services unless you have agreed to the costs beforehand.

As Personal Representative, it is your responsibility to make decisions for the Estate. You want to get the best possible advice before making these decision by speaking with your lawyer and other professionals about your responsibilities. MHR Law LLP will give you advice and assist you in the successful administration of the Estate.