|Estates & Trusts
Steps You Should Take Now
How To Safeguard The Assets Of The Estate
- Safeguard the assets of the estate (see below: "How To Safeguard The Assets Of The Estate").
- Apply for Canada Pension Plan death benefits.
- List all assets of the estate and estimate their value at the time of the deceasedís death (see below: "How To List The Assets And Liabilities Of The Estate"). To complete your list, you may need to contact the banks and stockbrokers used by the deceased.
- Provide the latest tax assessment notices on property owned by the deceased or have the property appraised as of the date of death. You can consult the list of appraisers under "Real Estate Appraisers" in the phone book or we can provide you with the name(s) of one or two appraisers.
- List all the debts and liabilities of the estate (again, see below: "How To List The Assets And Liabilities Of The Estate").
- Record all money you spend or receive as Trustee. You are entitled to be repaid from the estate for your reasonable expenses, including funeral expenses. Also, keep a diary of the steps you take as Trustee, including telephone calls made, interviews attended, mail sent or received, time spent, and so on.
- Arrange to prepare and file income tax returns, unless it is decided that the firm will complete the same. Three main tax returns are needed:
- one for the year before the death, if the deceased had not filed a return and if tax is payable;
- one for the year of death; and
- one for the tax year of the estate administration.
You can contact an accountant to discuss the tax liabilities of the deceased and your responsibilities as Trustee. The accountant can also file any required tax returns.
- List the names of all those who must be legally notified and include addresses. Depending on the circumstances, these people may include current or previous spouses (whether common-law or not), all children, other next-of-kin, and anyone else who might make a claim on the estate. We will inform the people who must be legally notified that you intend to act as Trustee of the estate. Please indicate if anyone listed is a minor or is mentally incompetent.
- Gather all documents that we will need to move forward. As discussed, these documents include the deceasedís birth, marriage and death certificates; any separation agreements, court orders or judgments; and financial papers.
How To List The Assets And Liabilities Of The Estate
- Keep cash, insurance policies, securities (stock certificates), jewelry, and other valuables in a safe place.
- Lock up the deceasedís home if nobody is staying there and inform the police. Most insurance policies will allow you to leave a house vacant for 30 days and still provide coverage. Get vacancy coverage after that time.
- Check the insurance on the deceasedís assets (car, house, furniture). Check the expiry dates and notify the insurers of the death.
- Arrange for someone to manage the deceasedís business until the estate is settled.
- Make banking arrangements. Notify the banks of the death. Collect and deposit any outstanding cheques (pensions, dividends, interest, salary). Cancel the deceasedís credit cards.
- Redirect mail, if necessary, and visit Canada Post to sign necessary authorizations.
- Check the dates that any bonds mature.
- Check mortgages and agreements for sale. Make the payments to keep them up to date, if possible.
- Check leases and tenancies. Pay rent that is owed, if possible. Also, give tenants notice of termination, if necessary, and notice about where to send rent payments.
- Review the last cheques written by the deceased to make sure there are no irregularities.
These steps apply to many estates, but not all of them may apply to the estate that you are administering. Please call us if you have any questions about these possible steps.
- Arrange a time with the deceasedís bank to view and list the contents of the safety deposit box. A bank employee is required to review the contents with you and make a list. Write down the following: the names, numbers and maturity dates of the securities; expiry dates of warrants and conversion rights; the transfer agents for stocks and bonds; details of unclipped coupons; and dates of issue of stock certificates.
- Record all your expenses as Trustee and be sure to keep a record of all the time that you spend doing your job as Trustee, in order to support your Trusteeís fee.
- List all banks where the deceased had accounts or loans. Include the account numbers. For each account, ask the bank for the balance as of the date of death, including any accrued but unposted interest. Collect any bank books or statements of account and get the bank to update them to the date of death. Remember that accounts may include term deposits, GICs, Registered Retirement Savings Plans, and Registered Retirement Income Funds.
- List all securities, stocks or bonds owned by the deceased which are not listed in the contents of the safety box. If possible, ask the deceasedís broker for their market value at the date of death.
- List all real estate which the deceased owned alone or with others. Also list any mortgages or agreements for sale owned by the deceased. Provide the full addresses of all property. Give the latest tax assessment notices on property owned by the deceased, or have the property appraised as at the date of death.
Do this same step for any property owned by someone else, but on which the deceased held a mortgage and loaned money to the owner to buy the property. Also do this same step for property sold by the deceased under an agreement for sale where the purchaser still owes money to the deceased.
- List any cheques or refunds owing to the deceased which have not been received or deposited. This includes pay cheques, pension cheques and any repayments or refunds owing to the deceased. It also includes cheques or income owing from deferred profit sharing plans, dividends, and interest.
- List any business assets or shares in a company owned by the deceased. If possible, get these assets or shares valued as of the date of death.
- Identify all people or businesses owing money to the deceased. Give any details you can about the nature of the debt and the amount owing.
- List any other assets such as cars, boats, household goods, jewelry, cameras and other personal effects. Describe them briefly, including available serial numbers. Include their estimated values.
- List all outstanding debts and liabilities.
- List any agreements or court orders involving the deceased. This might include divorce decrees, maintenance orders, marriage agreements, guarantees, buy-sell agreements, partnership agreements, leases, employment contracts, or insurance the deceased owned on the life of another.
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