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Top 10 Tips for Estate Executors

December 26, 2022
  1. As executor, you’re in a position of trust. The assets are not yours; they belong to the estate and are for the ultimate benefit of the beneficiaries. Manage the assets prudently.
  2. The executor has a duty of care to act in the best interest of the beneficiaries. When carrying out this duty, be transparent when dealing with beneficiaries.
  3. Communicate with beneficiaries promptly and with clarity.
  4. Preserve your neutrality among the beneficiaries and ensure that an advantage is not given to one beneficiary which may be a detriment to another beneficiary.
  5. Obtain the assistance and guidance of professionals (accountant and lawyer who specialize in estates and trusts). If you’ve been an executor before, you already know how important this is. If it’s your first time being an executor, it’s that much more important.
  6. If the deceased died with a will, follow the instructions given in the will exercising the level of discretion allowed for in the will and do it with integrity and objectivity.
  7. Be diligent in keeping clear and organized estate records.
  8. Document (i.e., write-down) your decisions and your decision-making thought process.
  9. Stay current with the affairs of the estate. Ensuring the financial records stay up-to-date, maintaining timely tax compliance, punctual communications with interested parties, etc.
  10. Obtain releases and clearances – when making capital distributions to beneficiaries obtain releases to absolve you of further liability (or apply to pass the accounts of the estate by the court). When filing final tax returns for the deceased and the estate/trust obtain clearances from CRA to absolve you of further tax liability.


Posted in Executorship