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Understanding what is and is not the job of executors

When taking on the role of executor, many people have questions. What exactly are executors responsible for? I care for the person who named me, but am I cut out for this position? It is important for Ontario executors to understand the role they are to play before accepting it.

Probate and taxes are some of the most challenging issues executors are charged with, so it is a good idea for those who are named to have some understanding of bookkeeping and Ontario tax law. The person named will have to first determine the assets and liabilities of the estate. Then, he or she will need to pay all debts, inform beneficiaries of what they were left in the will, and conclude taxation and probate issues in order to provide those assets to said beneficiaries.

Often, beneficiaries will have questions about which of the assets they receive are taxable. These are questions an executor should be prepared to answer. If there is no will or an invalid will, the executor will follow Ontario law in administering the will.

In Ontario, the fees courts charge for estate administration are referred to as an Estate Adminstration Tax. These amount to 0.5 percent for estates up to $50,000 and 1.5 percent for those over that amount. Executors will also need to cancel any Canada Pension Plan or Old Age Security payments as part of their duties. Those who are seeking support to help execute a will should involve a lawyer who can help clarify these laws and ensure everything is done in a way that aligns with provincial regulations.

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