by David Hobbs
Decide whether you wish to act as an Executor or Administrator (“Personal Rep”) of a deceased’s person’s estate before you start dealing with the assets and liabilities of the estate. Intermeddling may hinder your ability to renounce your appointment.
The duties of a Personal Rep include:
- Administering and distributing the estate;
- Accounting to all beneficiaries and creditors; and
- Performing all duties imposed by the will or by law.
Tasks that you will have to deal with include:
- Making funeral arrangements;
- Taking possession and control of all assets;
- Paying all debts and liabilities of the deceased and the estate before making distribution of the estate;
- Notifying beneficiaries as part of the application process for a grant of probate or administration;
- Acting personally unless delegation is permitted;
- Retaining legal and accounting advisors;
- Insuring all investments are of an authorized nature;
- Making sure adequate insurance is in place;
- Continuing, bringing and maintaining any necessary legal actions;
- Attending to all tax filings; and
- Keeping proper books, records and accounts.
Before taking on the duties of the Personal Rep you may wish to consider:
- There is a potential for personal liability if a creditor who should have been paid from the estate is not paid, for breach of trust, negligence, statutory liability such as environmental liability and employer liability;
- The terms of the will and trusts created in the will;
- The nature and situs of the assets;
- Possible applications to vary the will;
- Corrections to and interpretation of the terms of the will;
- The complexity of the personal relationships between those interested in the estate;
- Bonding requirements;
- Issues of non-residency and foreign reporting requirements;
- The remuneration available to a Personal Rep; and
- The skill and time required to perform the whole administration.
If a named Personal Rep decides he or she does not wish to accept an appointment as Executor in a will the Personal Rep may sign a form of renunciation. This should be done before intermeddling in the estate assets.
You may wish to consult a lawyer before you start dealing with estate assets or performing Personal Rep duties. This will allow you to obtain advice on the risks and duties involved. Hobbs Giroday can give you the advice you need on a confidential basis.