When someone in Alberta is named as estate representative in another person’s will, he or she can accept or decline. If it is accepted, the estate representative must ensure the will’s instructions are carried out as detailed by the testator in the will. Arranging the funeral and burial will likely be the first duty to perform.
The estate representative may also have the following responsibilities:
- Locating the final will of the deceased person.
- Locating the will’s beneficiaries and notifying them.
- Making payment of estate fees.
- Arranging to get the estate’s value appraised.
- Applying for the validation of the will by the court.
- Completing the deceased person’s final tax return along with those required for the estate.
- Paying all outstanding debts after notifying creditors of the debtor’s death.
- Following the instructions in the will and dividing the estate accordingly.
- Preparing financial reports for all the beneficiaries of the estate.
If the deceased did not have a will in place, the law would determine how to distribute the assets.
In some cases, the estate representative is responsible for discovering all the deceased person’s assets and evaluating them. These may include the following:
- A bank account with money or cash funds
- Real estate
- TFSAs, RRSPs or other registered plans
- Mutual funds, bonds, stocks or other investments
- Personal items of value
Once all the assets are identified, the representative will be responsible for their safekeeping until the estate’s finalization. Being the representative of an estate is a significant responsibility, and there may be many questions about duties and responsibilities. Anyone in Alberta who accepts the assignment can seek legal and financial guidance.