Overwhelmed with the Loss of a Love One? Responsible for Their Estate?
Clear Action Plan
Practical Support & Advice
Kerfoot Burroughs LLP is dedicated to providing guidance, straightforward advice and a supporting hand to help you every step of the way.
Our legal team has a deep understanding of the emotions and stresses that arise following the death of a loved one. As a small firm, we provide a comfortable atmosphere where you can find comprehensive and pragmatic assistance.
You may be relieved to know there is often no rush to administer the estate. There are many steps to take, but we can bring order to a complicated process and walk you through the tasks at the right time and pace. We can also create a written action plan to do so you can be clear on what needs to be done and when.
Our goal is for you to feel as comfortable as you can, knowing we have all the bases covered and that you are being backed by legal advisors you can trust.
Questions? Just Ask!
A Lot of Help or Just a Little
Some of our clients are executors for the first time. Others have been through the process before, but may be working with a larger, more complex estate that is more than they can manage. We have helped countless client through the estate administration process, with a particular focus on administering high net worth estates and those with complex family systems.
If you are an executor, we know what must be done, how to do it efficiently, and how to advise you to carry out your fiduciary duties in a way to minimize liability and future legal problems. Our lawyers draw on their depth of experience to ensure as efficient and streamlined an administration as possible.
Beneficiaries, executors, trustees and guardians may only be faced with navigating estate issues only once in a lifetime. Knowing what to do and where to start can be stressful and overwhelming. Our legal team is here to provide support. We have decades of experience in estate and trust administration and can help you navigate the legal issues and processes.
We advise executors in obtaining court approval of their administration, preparing accounts (including estate accounts) for court, and all other aspects of estate and trust administration.
We can help with:
- Conducting a thorough search for the Will and all estate assets and creating a detailed inventory
- Creating a long term plan for administering the estate
- Paying the estate’s liabilities
- Preparing and submitting the estate accounting for approval
- Identifying and valuing assets
- Collaborating with the estate representative to administer the estate
- Assisting with the transfer of assets to the beneficiaries
What does an executor do?
An executor’s financial duties can be summarized as:
- obtaining and probating the will of the deceased, if required;
- advertising for and notifying creditors and beneficiaries;
- identifying the assets and liabilities of the estate;
- protecting the assets of the estate;
- paying the debts of the estate and collecting any funds owed to the estate;
- filing the final tax returns of the estate;
- verifying and dealing with claims against the estate;
- liquidating and distributing the assets of the estate; and
- accounting for the administration of the estate.
There are also significant non-financial responsibilities including making funeral arrangements, care for pets, social media accounts, redirecting mail and dealing perishable items to name a few.
Can I get paid for being an executor?
The short answer is yes; you can get paid for being an executor.
Being an executor can be a difficult and unrewarding task. It requires and attention to detail and is a position of high responsibility and trust.
The law in British Columbia states that as an executor you can charge a maximum initial fee of 5% of the value of the estate and up to 0.4% annually as a care and management fee if the estate requires any long-term administration. These are maximums however and rarely are awarded except in complex estates.
Factors that go into determining an appropriate level of compensation can be summarized as:
- the time and effort expended by the executor
- the size and complexity of the estate
- the skill and ability of the executor
- whether anyone contested the estate
- whether the executor did all the work or hired professionals to do the work of the executor
What happens if there is no Will?
If the deceased has left no Will (or a Will that is not valid) they are said to have died “intestate”. In that case, as deceased has no written record of their wishes, the government has a formula for how an estate will be administered and distributed. This formula is found in the Wills, Estate and Succession Act, a provincial statute.
There is also a prioritized list of individuals who can apply to become the administrator (the name given to the executor of an estate with no Will) with priority given to spouses and adult children or their nominees. In certain cases, an administrator may have to post a bond to guarantee their performance.