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The Responsibilities of an Executor

Although it may be considered an honour to be asked to act as an executor, there are many responsibilities involved that can make the task quite complex and time-consuming. Ensuring you understand these responsibilities will help you to choose the person best suited to be your own executor, as well as guide you if you are appointed as executor on someone’s behalf.

An executor’s responsibilities can be broad and may require several months or even years. The length of time it takes for an estate to be settled depends on its complexity.

The responsibilities of an executor can range from the planning of a funeral to the distribution of assets to the beneficiaries. Responsibilities of an executor may include any of the following:

  • Organizing funeral and burial arrangements.
  • Contacting the beneficiaries and gathering the relevant papers and information.
  • Handling the bank accounts and, if necessary, safety deposit boxes.
  • Locating and obtaining any title documents, for instance for property, mortgages, or bonds.
  • Contacting any necessary third parties in order to cancel health insurance, notify utilities of final billing, cancel social insurance card, contact previous or present employers regarding benefits, and more.
  • Identifying and collecting the assets of the estate.
  • Safeguarding and investing the assets that are pending distribution to beneficiaries.
  • Paying off the debts and liabilities owed by the estate.
  • Filing the required tax returns of the deceased and the estate.
  • Properly distributing the assets to the beneficiaries in accordance with the Will.

An executor of a Will is an extremely important role and carries many responsibilities. If you are named an executor, it is important that you understand this role and what is expected of you. 

This content is provided for general informational purposes only and does not constitute financial, investment, tax, legal or accounting advice nor does it constitute an offer or solicitation to buy or sell any securities referred to. Individual circumstances and current events are critical to sound investment planning; anyone wishing to act on this content should consult with his or her financial partner or advisor.

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