Depending upon the size and complexity of an estate, it could be relatively simple or more challenging to administer. Those in Ontario thinking about taking on the role of executor need to ask themselves some pointed questions about the duties of the position before they accept or politely decline. Knowing what the duties of an executor are and how much time is likely to be expended doing what needs to be done may help a person decide what to do.
Once a person begins the job of an executor, the law says the job must be seen through. An executor can only step out of the role by court order, so this is something of which a person must be certain. Here are just some of the timely duties of the position:
Immediately after the testator’s passing:
- Arrange for organ donation, if that was the wish of the deceased
- Make funeral plans if they haven’t been made
- Obtain proof of death from the funeral home
- Apply for a governmental Death Certificate
- Review the will with a lawyer
- Arrange care for any dependents and/or pets
- Find and secure assets
- Arrange insurance for vacant real estate
Very soon after the testator’s passing:
- Cancel Social Insurance Number, passport, health card, driver’s license
- Notify all asset holders
- Notify all utility companies
- Notify Service Canada regarding Old Age Security, etc.
- Cancel debit and credit cards
These types of tasks can take months to complete, as Ontario executors don’t always have easy roles to fulfill. Although you may be honoured to have been asked to be an executor, taking on the role without knowing what it involves could be a disservice to the testator and his or her beneficiaries. It could prove invaluable to first consult with an experienced lawyer before making a final decision.