Death & Taxes – Providing Guidance with the Estate Administration Process

There comes a time in everyone’s life where they have to face the devastating loss of a loved one. Often if you are the closest living relative of your deceased loved one, or if you were entrusted with his or her financial affairs, you may become responsible for administering the estate as an executor by way of appointment in the will (testate) or where there is no will you can decide to step up as the executor ether informally or by formal court appointment (intestate). Whether the deceased had a will or not, there are usually many unresolved issues such as funeral & burial arrangements, dealing with the deceased’s real estate, insurance benefits, government benefits (CPP/OAS etc), and/or other pending matters.

Let’s not forget the age-old saying of Benjamin Franklin that: “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes”, which leads to an additional aspect of the estate administration, namely, the executor’s responsibility to pay Estate Administration Tax (EAT) on any assets of the deceased that flow through the estate. That’s right, taxes remain owing even after a person dies!

During this challenging time, the last thing that clients wish to do is worry about completing administrative paperwork and resolving the tax consequences of a deceased’s estate. Clients need time to deal with the grieving process. To assist with the executor’s duties and responsibilities during this difficult period, it may be useful to hire a lawyer to interpret the provisions of the deceased’s will, provide legal advice on the appropriate distribution of the deceased’s estate (as stated in the Will or under the laws of Intestate Succession), identify the complete list of assets/debts, complete an application to formally appoint an executor (Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee “with” or “without” a Will), assist with locating beneficiaries and distributing specific/residual bequests, assist with preparing the accounts of executors, filing the final income tax return (T1) and terminal return (T3), and providing guidance at each stage of the estate administration process to ensure that all matters are handled in accordance with the Laws of Ontario.

In order to avoid the tax implications described above and ensure that your assets are properly structured, we recommend that you meet with a lawyer who specializes in Estate Planning to determine the best mechanisms for passing down your wealth to future generations. There are various strategies that we can recommend to ensure that your hard earned money is adequately protected and passed down according to your wishes without the need for additional tax payments or legal fees.

Administering an estate is a detail-oriented and highly technical process. At Heydarian Law we can assist with all aspects of the Estate Administration process and Estate Planning. Feel free to contact us at: 1800-582-4LAW (4529) or visit our website at to schedule a consultation.

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