When you think of estate administration and probate, you think it must be really complicated and hard to understand. As of March 2014, the Wills, Estates and Succession Act modernized the law in British Columbia. They made it somewhat easier to understand and put to use.
The financial institution that holds your assets is part of the estate that you need to probate. You need to be in contact with them to see if they require you to have your executor apply for a representation grant or not. The executor can’t act on your estate at all if the institution requires the grant and you haven’t put it in place.
This may be something that your solicitor or attorney can assist with because, even though it may be simpler, it can still be confusing.
You may also have an administrator if you die without leaving a valid will. If there is a will in place, and you didn’t name an executor, the executor died without a replacement or the executor decides not to be your representative, you can use an administrator.
The court will have to step in if you pass away without a will or if you didn’t appoint an administrator.
The duties of an executor or administrator are as follows: They complete an inventory of your assets and debts. They keep an accurate list of all beneficiaries. They cancel your subscriptions and your charge cards. They must, out of necessity, take control of all your assets and need to be able to collect any debts that are owed to your estate.
They look at your debts and are authorized to pay them all off, if needed. They also file your last tax return.
Getting your estate in order can bring you peace of mind. You need to know that getting this done will give your beneficiaries the direction that they need to grieve their loss without additional anxiety over these important estate administration matters.
Source: British Columbia Ministry of Justice, “About Wills and Estates,” accessed April. 29, 2015