Estate Administration Division of Duties Between Lawyer and Estate Trustee


Advance
  Prepared by Norman Pickell, an estate lawyer based in Goderich, Ontario. 

Here is a breakdown of the List of the Duties of the Lawyer and the Duties of the Estate Trustee (formerly known as the "Executor" or "Administrator"). 
Not all of these Duties will necessarily be applicable to every Estate.
 
 
 
DUTIES


Lawyer

 

 


Trustee

Funeral    determine if any special instructions (in will, or elsewhere)

  make arrangements for funeral X
  receive account (& eventually pay) (unless funeral pre-paid) X
  obtain Proofs of Death from funeral home X
If Will   locate the will X
  assist in search for will (if necessary) X
  determine if it is the valid last will X
  read the will X
  interpret the will
  advise Estate Trustee re possible spousal entitlement under Family Law Act
 

prepare Family Law Act Election and Independent Legal Advice forms (if needed)

 

(if necessary) contact spouse re Family Law Act Election and have spouse contact independent lawyer

 

provide Family Law Act Election and Independent Legal Advice forms (if needed) to the independent lawyer 

 

(if needed) receive back from the independent lawyer the Family Law Act Election and Independent Legal Advice forms

 

advise Estate Trustee re possible dependant’s claim under Succession Law Reform Act 

If No Will   make inquiries by letter & by phone for will X
 

interpret who is entitled to receive Estate

  gather information concerning family members X
 

advise those entitled to apply for Certificate of Appointment

 

notify Public Guardian & Trustee if no next of kin in Ontario

  receive instructions re Application for Appointment
Assets    locate all assets by contacting banks, etc. X
 

all telephone conversations with holders of assets 

X
  all correspondence with holders of assets X
 

update bank/trust company pass books

X
 

list contents of Safety Deposit Box (if there is one)

X
 

determine if Deceased is beneficiary of unfinished estate

X
 

if Deceased is beneficiary of unfinished estate, contact either Estate Trustee or Solicitor for estate 

X
 

submit necessary claim forms to life insurance companies (including supporting documents)

X
 

gather in all assets ( including cash, jewelry, securities, other valuable papers

X
 

consult with lawyer re knowledge of other assets 

X
  if Deceased was employed at time of death, contact employer to collect wages and benefits X
 

if assets include a business, arrange for continuation & proper management of business

X
  if receiving Old Age/CPP, notify Health & Welfare X
  complete CPP Death Benefit Application (if applicable) X
 

complete CPP Survivor’s Benefit Application (if applicable)

X
 

if Deceased was receiving any other pension, contact Pension Plan Administrator

X
 

prepare inventory (list) of assets as of date of death

X
  look at list of assets
 

decide if necessary to apply for Certificate of Appointment

 

secure assets (including jewelry & cash)

X
 

make sure assets are adequately insured in name of Estate

X
 

re-direct all mail (unless spouse living in house)

X
 

monitor any investments that Deceased had at death

X
 

where appropriate, keep assets invested until distribution can be made

X
Beneficiaries   locate beneficiaries X
 

prepare list, including full names, addresses, S.I.N. and dates of birth

X
  look at list of beneficiaries

 

determine if there are any contingent beneficiaries

 

answer inquiries from beneficiaries from time to time

X
 

inform them from time to time of what is happening

X
 

assist Trustee re answers to questions from beneficiaries

 

deal with lawyers acting for beneficiaries

Certificate of Appointment  

determine if named Trustee(s) will act

X
 

prepare Renunciations (if necessary)

 

prepare Consent to Appointment (if necessary)

 

arrange to have Consent to Appointment signed

 

prepare Application for Certificate of Appointment

 

locate one witness to the will

 

prepare Affidavit of Execution of Will

  advise re bond required by Estates Act (if needed)

  arrange for bond required by Estates Act (if needed)

X
  prepare papers to dispense with bond (if able)

  sign papers to dispense with bond (if able)  X
  prepare Notice of Application for Certificate

  advise Trustee of her/his duties

  review documentation

  explain documentation to Applicant

  sign documentation X
  have Affidavit of Witness signed

  serve Notice of Application on beneficiaries

  serve Public Guardian & Trustee (if necessary)

  serve Office of Children’s Lawyer (if necessary)

  arrange for money to pay Court Fee for Certificate

X
  attend at Court House to file Application

  receive Certificate of Appointment from Court House

Bank Account   open estate bank account X
  arrange for collection of future income X
  deposit all cheques into it X
  pay bills from it X
  provide for immediate family’s financial needs (if necessary) X
Creditors   discuss issue

X
  decide in which newspapers to insert Notice to Creditors

X
  prepare Notice to Creditors

  send Notice to Creditors to Newspaper(s)

  eventually receive Proof of Publication of Notice

  pay account from Newspaper(s) for Publication of Notice

  receive proof of Claims from Creditors

  discuss Claims from Creditors

X
  decide if creditors’ claims are legitimate

X
  send letter to creditors acknowledging claim

  send Notice of Contestation to illegitimate creditors

  determine what other debts of Deceased are X
  eventually send payments to all creditors X
Cards   cancel all credit cards X
  send in Health Card for cancellation X
  send in Driver’s Licence for cancellation and possible refund X
  cancel magazine & other subscriptions X

Documents   prepare such Notarial Copies as are necessary

  deliver Notarial Copies of documents where necessary X
Real Estate   keep watch over until sold X
  change fire and liability insurance coverage to Estate X
  clean out the house X
  dispose of Deceased’s perishable items X
  prepare house for viewing by appraiser and others X
  arrange for valuation X
  arrange for sale (unless being transferred to a beneficiary) X
  review and sign Listing Agreement X
  be available to let real estate agent show house X
  review & decide on Offer to Purchase

X
provide necessary papers to lawyer for completion of sale X
  prepare all legal documents, handle all letters and inquiries from purchaser's lawyer and to doing all legal work necessary to complete the sale (as part of a separate file and for an additional fee)

  sign papers that lawyer prepares for sale X
Automobile   change insurance coverage to Estate X
  locate ownership X
  obtain value of automobile (if necessary) X
  arrange for sale or transfer of car & completing the same X
  arrange for cancellation of insurance X

Furniture

  arrange for distribution in accordance with will X
  arrange for sale or other disposition of balance X
  receive proceeds from sale of furniture X
Other Assets   arrange for distribution in accordance with will X
  close bank accounts X
  cancel safety deposit box(es) X
  obtain proper valuations X
  prepare Declarations of Transmission

  read over Declarations of Transmission X
  explain Declarations of Transmission

  sign Declarations of Transmission X
  commission Declarations of Transmission

  complete any Powers of Attorney needed for transfer

  sign any Powers of Attorney needed for transfer X
  prepare and explain other documents necessary to transfer assets

  read over and sign other documents necessary to transfer assets X
  prepare covering letters to accompany documentation

  send letters & documents away to transfer assets

  arrange for sale of other assets X
  receive money from sale of assets X
Court    prepare papers for any other necessary court applications

  read over papers for any other court applications X
  explain papers for any other court applications

  sign papers for any other necessary court applications X
  attend Court to represent Estate (if necessary)

  attend Court as observer (if necessary) X
Income Tax   gather information for preparation of all tax returns 
need tax return for January 1st to date of death
make sure income tax returns of all previous years are filed
X
  Trust return may be needed to cover period from date of death until distribution of Estate Assets X
  arrange for preparation of all income tax returns (including a Trust return, if required) X
  review completed tax returns & sign same X
  file tax returns with Revenue Canada X
  receive Notice of Assessment from Revenue Canada X
  prepare Request for Clearance Certificate X
  sign Request for Clearance Certificate X
  submit Request for Clearance Certificate to Revenue Canada (together with necessary supporting documents) X
  receive Final Clearance Certificate from Revenue Canada X
Accounts    keep track of all assets, income and expenses X
  prepare estate accounts in proper form X
  if necessary, prepare Application to Pass Estate Accounts (ie. Court approval of Estate Accounts)

  prepare Affidavit verifying estate accounts

  review Affidavit verifying estate accounts X
  sign Affidavit verifying estate accounts X
  prepare Notice of Application to Pass Accounts

  prepare draft Judgment re passing of estate accounts

  file with Court copy of Accounts + other documentation

  receive from Court the Notice of Application with Court date

  serve Notice of Application to Pass Estate Accounts

  serve copy of draft Judgment

  send accounts out to beneficiaries for approval

  answer questions from beneficiaries concerning the accounts X
  receive back approval of accounts and/or releases from beneficiaries

  receive draft Judgment approved by The Children’s Lawyer and by The Public Guardian and Trustee

  if no objections, prepare Court Record
including: Affidavit of Service; Notices of No Objections

  receive Notice of Objection (if any)

  prepare for Court Hearing for Passing of Accounts (ie. Court Approval of Accounts)

X
  attend at Court Hearing for Passing of Accounts

X
  prepare Judgment in accordance with Judge’s findings

  have Judgment issued & entered in Court Office

  serve Judgment as directed by Court

Releases   prepare for beneficiaries to sign

  send out to beneficiaries with covering letter

  receive back from beneficiaries

Distribution   distribute individual assets specifically directed to person(s) named in will X
  divide up balance of household contents (if appropriate) X
  make partial distribution (if appropriate) X
  make final distribution of balance of estate after receiving: 
Releases from beneficiaries; 
Final Clearance Certificate from Revenue Canada
X
  invest assets for on-going Trust(s) (if so directed by will) 
decide on investments
make investments
monitor investments
X
  prepare and file annual Trust returns (if on-going Trust) X
  final reporting letter to Estate Trustee

Legal Advice   provide general legal advice throughout the administration of the Estate


 

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Norman B. Pickell  Lawyer - Mediator - Arbitrator  58 South Street, Goderich, Ontario N7A 3L5  Telephone (519) 524-8335   Fax (519) 524-1530