Being An Estate Executor Means Being Prepared

Being the executor of an estate in British Columbia can be a long, thankless job. Knowing what to expect and preparing yourself can make the process a lot easier.

The role of estate executor is not without its challenges. Knowing what to expect and how to proceed can make the difference between a stress-filled or straightforward estate administration process.

What Every Executor Should Know

Being named the executor of a will can feel like an honour. It also has the potential to add a significant amount of stress to your life. Even the most organized estates will likely require more than 18 months of administrative duties, making it critical that as a would-be executor, you understand what will be expected of you.

Before you agree to take on the role of estate executor, educate yourself on the responsibilities and expectations and know which questions to ask. Investing the time now can save you from complications in the future.

How Is An Executor Named?

Typically, a person (the testator) will ask a family member or friend to serve as the executor of their estate while they are still alive.

It is important to understand that taking on the role of estate executor is not mandatory. You can say no. If you have been appointed as executor, you have the option of declining or renouncing the appointment.

What Does An Executor Do?

The role of an executor is to handle all matters relating to a deceased person's final will. In other words, as an executor, you are in charge of making sure that the testator's final wishes are honoured. You are also responsible for handling matters related to:

· Locating the will

· Making funeral arrangements

· Identifying and contacting beneficiaries

· Whether or not to probate the estate

· Filing and paying taxes

· Closing bank accounts, paying debts, handling investments, stocks, pensions, and other financial issues

· Accounting for and distributing the assets of the estate to beneficiaries

What Is Probate?

Probate refers to the process of proving a will to the court and determining that it is legally valid. Depending on the type of assets associated with the estate, probate may not be necessary.

Administrating Financial Affairs Including Debts

One of the more complicated aspects of administering an estate is handling financial matters. Even the most well-intentioned testator can unwillingly leave a financial labyrinth behind if they did not plan properly.

In addition to closing bank accounts, cancelling credit cards, and notifying the credit bureaus to prevent fraudulent activity, the executor is responsible for handling any debts on behalf of the estate.

Because financial matters are so serious and have the potential to be very complex, consulting a lawyer who is well-versed in wills and estates can help ensure that you leave nothing to chance.

The Benefit Of Being Prepared

Being an estate administrator can be challenging but a little preparation goes a long way. Taking the time to understand the role and seeking support can help prevent unnecessary complications and unwanted surprises so that you can focus on carrying out the testator's final wishes.