Once you’ve received the estate grant, your job as executor or administrator is not over. Obtaining the grant means you can now liquidate the deceased’s assets, settle their debts, finalize any income tax reporting and prepare the proper documentation to distribute the estate.
Under section 155 of the Wills, Estates and Succession Act (“WESA”), you may not distribute the estate prior to 210 days from the issuance of the grant. We’ve written on why this is here.
You may now liquidate the assets of the deceased and accumulate them into an estate account (if you’ve not already opened one, it is best you do!).
If the deceased held real property in British Columbia, you will need to transfer the property from the deceased’s name into your name as executor or administrator. In order to do this, you can consult with the Land Title and Survey Authority of British Columbia, or, engage a legal representative to assist you with the transfer.
Prior to any distribution of the estate, you’ll want to ensure any liabilities have been settled first. Many law firms will assist you in advertising for creditors, which is done through the BC Gazette. The King’s Printer produces the Gazette in two parts. Gazette Part I is published weekly and contains the notices to creditors. Gazette II is published biweekly and contains the full text of all new provincial regulations (great readings!). The ad will often state the deceased’s name, their last known address and inform creditors as to who to direct any claims to (either yourself or the legal representative). It is best that the notice allows creditors at least thirty days to respond. Though creditors may pursue claims after the thirty days have lapsed, this period releases the executor/administrator from the personal liability of paying out the debts.
If the deceased held real property and there are utilities or insurances payments to be made, these can be paid out through the estate funds.
Income Tax Returns
We always recommend you consult an accountant for assistance with the deceased’s taxes. Note, however, you will be required to file an income tax return on behalf of the deceased as well as a T3 Trust Return.
You will also need to obtain a Clearance Certificate from Canada Revenue Agency. This is a document that confirms that the estate of the deceased has paid all amounts of income tax, GST/HST, interest and penalties.
Distributing the Estate
Once the above is complete, you may distribute the estate according to the provisions of the deceased’s will (if they had one), or according to WESA (if they didn’t). You’ll want to prepare a release of the estate for each beneficiary to sign. This acts as a contract that maintains that, in exchange for receiving a gift from the estate, the beneficiary signing will not make any claims against the estate. Note, if the beneficiary is a minor, further steps must be taken before you can distribute.
If you have any questions about this process, it is always best to seek legal advice.
This information is general in nature only. You should consult a lawyer or appropriately qualified party before acting on any of this information. This information should not be considered as legal advice. To learn more about your legal needs, please contact our office at (250)448-2637 or one of our lawyers practicing in the area of wills and estate at the following:
Jane Otterstrom: firstname.lastname@example.org