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Porter Ramsay Blog

What does an executor do?

Generally speaking, an executor winds up the estate of the deceased and administers gifts and inheritances to beneficiaries. However, this responsibility is easier said than done.

The executor, also called the estate trustee, may have had a discussion with the testator about the process of winding up an estate. However, if further clarification is needed, it’s best advised to consult with an experienced estates lawyer. He or she will be able to help the estate trustee put into motion all the steps that need to be completed in order to administer the will. If the estate trustee should so wish, a legal professional may also take over the administration of the will on the trustee’s behalf.

The first step in administering a will is to probate the will. This step is to verify with the courts that the will is valid. Once that step is passed, the next step will be to assess the current state of the estate. Before any beneficiaries can receive their inheritances, the executor must make sure any outstanding debts and taxes are paid out. This can include settling credit card debts and filing income taxes.

As outlined on the Government of British Columbia website, there are a number of other steps and responsibilities that an executor must undertake before beneficiaries may receive their inheritance. In come cases, the executor may have to sell off some assets within the estate to settle outstanding financial issues. This may affect what the beneficiaries receive. It’s important that the estate trustee show the necessity for these decisions and the proper receipts in case surviving family or friends challenge his or her decisions.

If you have questions about how to begin administering a will, consult with an experienced estates lawyer. He or she can help you resolve any challenges you face as you carry out the instructions in the will.