The role of an executor

The executor plays a critical part in ensuring the appropriate What is the role of an Executor? What do I do?allocation of assets once an individual has passed.

When choosing an executor you must seriously consider the person to fit the role as it requires a certain amount of expertise and a large time commitment.

The responsibilities of an executor

  • Notify the beneficiaries – When an individual dies, it is the responsibility of the executor to contact of the beneficiaries and any other relevant party.
  • Look after the estate – It is the responsibility of the executor to ensure that all assets are safe.  The executor must also take into account the financial needs of the beneficiaries and ensure to prioritize beneficiaries who are the most vulnerable to financial hardship.
  • Value the estate – The executor must identify and get a valuation for all estate assets.  Each item requires written confirmation of the value from the appropriate  institutions.  This part of the process may require enlisting the help of a licensed valuer.
  • Obtain authority to administer the estate – Before an executor can initiate the task of disseminating estate assets, the executor must first apply to the Supreme Court to obtain authority over the deceased individual’s estate.  This is called obtaining ‘probate of the will’.
  • Complete income tax returns – The executor is responsible for ensuring that the deceased’s tax returns are up to date before the proceed with estate administration.
  • Pay all debts – The executor must rectify any outstanding payments due to creditors, funeral homes or any other party before dividing up the assets of the estate.  In some cases, beneficiaries will choose to cover these funds such that the estate can stay intact.
  • Distribute Assets – Once debtors have been paid, the executor is then responsible for the dissemination of assets per the conditions set forth in the will.

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