In many cases, it’s the probate process and administering the will that requires the most attention. It’s also the process that may create disputes over validity, mental capacity or how the estate is administered.
In addition to the probate process and administering a will, there are other tasks that need to be completed after someone passes that could affect the assets of the estate. Items such as closing the accounts after a will has been distributed, or cancelling pension and EI benefits, should all be looked after by the estate trustee. Failure to do so may result in issues for the estate trustee, such as the costs of overpayment to an estate.
After the passing of a loved one, it can be difficult to focus on all the procedural tasks that need to be dealt with when tying up an estate. It is best to consult an estate litigation lawyer during this emotionally frustrating time to make sure the estate is settled and closed properly, and to resolve any issues that arise quickly and efficiently.
According to the Government of Canada website, there are a couple of administrative tasks that should be dealt with soon after the passing of a loved one.
Applying for a Death Certificate: proof of death, such as a medical report or statement of death from a funeral home, needs to be obtained to apply for probate and administer the will.
Cancelling Benefits: pension payments, old age security, employment insurance and other government benefits should be cancelled following the death of a loved one. Failure to do so could result in overpayment to an estate. This may result in a new debt against the estate, which could impact the inheritance to the beneficiaries.
Identification Records: to avoid any potential fraud, it’s important to cancel personal identification documents, such as passports, citizenship cards, health cards and driver’s licences.
Close Any Outstanding Accounts: after the estate has been distributed, it’s important to close any accounts that are no longer necessary to keep open. This may include chequing and savings accounts, as well as investments such as registered retirement plans and tax-free savings accounts.
The purpose of clearing up these administrative details helps protect the estate from any future debts and other liabilities, such as identity theft or fraudulent banking.