Estate Administration is the process of making sure that the relevant items go to the proper people as set out in the deceased person’s will.  Types of estate administration duties include making cash payments to beneficiaries, transferring property to beneficiaries and filing final tax returns.  Usually these duties are carried out by the executor, we can assist in two ways:

  1. By one of our notaries being appointed as the executor in a will or,
  2. By assisting the executor to carry out the administrative duties required by them.

Named as executor for a deceased person, but not sure what you need to do? We can help you with that.

What happens when someone dies?

When a person dies, it is necessary to sort out their estate – their property and their debts.

This process can be simple or complicated, depending on whether the deceased left a Will or not, and the kinds of assets and debts the deceased had, and the family involved.

Each estate is different, and we can help you determine the specific steps that will be necessary for each situation.

Do I need probate?

The first step is to establish whether you need a representation grant.  There are several kinds of representation grants, depending on whether there was a Will or not. 

For example, if the deceased had a Will, the representation grant for that estate will be known as a grant of probate.  If the deceased did not have a Will, the representation grant for that estate will be known as a grant of letters of administration.

A representation grant gives someone the authority to deal with the assets and debts in a deceased person’s estate.

In some cases, a representation grant might not be necessary.  Situations where a representation grant might not be necessary include:

  • small estates (where the value of the estate or the assets in it is under a certain dollar amount)
  • estates where the asset-holder has agreed to forego a requirement for a grant of probate
  • situations where the deceased’s assets are either owned as true joint tenants, or have a designated beneficiary

Our lawyers can help you determine whether a representation grant is required.

How do I manage someone’s estate?

Managing an estate can be a complicated job. 

The steps you take to manage an estate differ depending on:

  • whether the deceased had a Will or not
  • what kinds of assets the deceased had and how they were owned
  • what kinds of debts the deceased had
  • obligations the deceased might have had to others (such as child support or spousal support)

Some of the steps you might take when managing an estate include:

  • securing assets;
  • ensuring the deceased’s taxes are filed and paid;
  • paying funeral expenses and other debts;
  • obtaining a representation grant;
  • dealing with personal effects;
  • selling assets which may need to be sold;
  • advertising for creditors;
  • reporting to, and making distributions to, the beneficiaries.

All of this work has to be carried out according to various timelines set out under the law.

Can I manage the estate myself?

Technically, yes.

You can administer an estate yourself provided you are organized, know the law, the rules and have the time.

If you are managing the estate yourself, you need to be aware of the various timelines and procedures involved, and ensure that you meet those requirements.

If the deceased owned any real property, you may require our assistance to help you prepare the legal paperwork to transmit the property into your name as executor, or to sell that property when the law allows you to do so.

It may be simpler or less stressful for you hire one of our lawyers to assist you with the administration of the estate.

What if there was no Will?

The type of representation grant you get when there is no Will is different than the kind of grant you get when there is a Will. 

If there was no Will, then you will have to follow the intestacy rules when distributing the deceased’s estate. Those rules differ according to the types of beneficiaries and assets the deceased had.

Contact us and we can help you determine how to distribute an estate without a Will.

What if the deceased had no money?

It sometimes happens that a deceased person had no money on their death. Unfortunately, their debts still need to be dealt with; you can hire us to help you sort out the priorities of creditors.