If there are no executors to an estate, certain individuals are eligible to apply to the BC Supreme Court for a Grant of Administration which can be a lot of work.  If successful, the person will be named the administrator and is able to manage and distribute the estate.

In the meantime, the Public Trustee will step in.  I have met a couple of people who had to deal with the Public Trustee’s office after someone in their lives died without a will.  It was a long, drawn-out, frustrating, and expensive proposition.  It is much better for you to give instructions as to what you’d like to have to happen with your assets after you pass away, rather than the government!

*The will can also appoint someone who you trust to act as the ‘executor’ to carry out your instructions but if you have no will then you will have no one to carry out your instructions.

What does an executor actually do?  The BC government recommends the basic duties of the executor or administrator include:

  • Completing an inventory and valuation of all assets and debts;
  • Gathering names and addresses of all beneficiaries and next-of-kin;
  • Canceling subscriptions and charge cards, redirecting mail, and wrapping up other personal matters;
  • Taking control of all assets, including the transfer of ownership registrations and the collection of any debts;
  • Paying all valid or proven debts left to the estate;
  • Filing tax returns for the deceased and for the estate;
  • Selling assets as necessary and distributing the estate; and
  • Notifying every person who may be entitled to a share of the estate
  • Preparing and obtaining approval from the beneficiaries, heirs-at-law or the court for accounts showing assets, receipts, disbursements, and distribution of the estate
  • Preparing, and filing documents such as a certificate of will notice search, a plan for distribution, and all affidavits required by the Court

Those who would be able to apply for the grant of administration for an intestate estate are listed below in order of priority:

  • The deceased’s spouse or a person nominated by the spouse;
  • A child of the deceased, if that child has the consent of the majority of the deceased’s children;
  • A person nominated by the deceased’s child, if that person has the consent of the majority of the deceased’s children;
  • A child of the deceased that does not have the consent of the majority of the deceased’s children;
  • An intestate successor other than the deceased’s spouse or child, if that person has the consent of the intestate successors who share a majority interest in the estate;
  • An intestate successor other than the deceased’s spouse or child, that does not have the consent of the intestate successors who share a majority interest in the estate; and
  • Any other person the court considers appropriate, which could include the Public Guardian and Trustee

Part 3 of Dying Without a Will in BC looks at how an executor pays estate expenses during the probate process. Find out in next month’s newsletter.

Source: www.jlc.ca

Please consult with a lawyer if you have questions about intestate estates or having a will done.

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