We see you are using Internet Explorer. Some functions of this site do not function properly with Internet Explorer. The site works best on updated browsers such as Edge, Chrome, and Firefox.

Estate Administration

Calgary Estate Administration Lawyers

Estate administration refers to everything that is necessary to wind up a deceased person’s assets and financial affairs. Estate administration starts when a person dies and often concludes with the transfer of the last of that person’s assets to the beneficiaries, who could be the deceased’s spouse, partner, children, friends, charities, or others.

In Alberta, estates are administered by personal representatives (called executors in other provinces). Usually, personal representatives are appointed in a person’s Will, or if they do not have a Will, then Alberta legislation directs who has first priority to be someone’s personal representative.

The Estate Administration Act defines the core tasks of a personal representative as follows:

  • To identify the estate assets and liabilities;
  • To administer and manage the estate;
  • To satisfy the debts and obligations of the estate; and
  • To distribute and account for the administration of the estate.

A personal representative collects the deceased’s assets, pays the debts and liabilities, files income tax and estate administration tax returns, and then distributes any remaining amounts to the beneficiaries. The personal representative has a reasonable time to do so (normally, around one year).

Our estate lawyers can assist personal representatives with all tasks relating to the administration of a deceased’s estate. Depending on the circumstances, the administration of the estate can be simple or complicated.

Lawyers for the Personal Representative of an Estate

There are several reasons for a personal representative to consider retaining a lawyer:

  • The relationships among personal representative(s), beneficiaries, and others involved in the deceased’s estate can be complicated. A neutral lawyer can help the personal representative handle these issues and manage these sorts of dynamics.
  • Estate administration takes time, and it can strain relationships among personal representatives, beneficiaries, and others involved. Hiring an experienced lawyer to communicate with everyone can help reduce these strains.
  • The personal representative is under a duty to perform the role honestly and in good faith, following the deceased’s intentions. They need to be careful and skilled in their role to avoid personal liability. Getting legal help is important for fulfilling this duty.
  • Lawyers advising personal representatives can identify legal issues relevant to an estate, including assessing the testator’s capacity and ensuring adequate provisions for dependents in the will (if there is one). They can also help explore ways to rectify errors or omissions in the will.
  • There are legal limitations on transferring assets to certain beneficiaries. For instance, if a minor is entitled to receive assets from an estate but no trustee has been appointed in the will, the assets must be distributed to the Public Trustee.

Alberta Wills and Estates Lawyers

Our team of experienced can provide comprehensive assistance to personal representatives at every step in the administration of a deceased’s estate, including:

  • Drafting the application for a grant of probate (if there is a Will) or a grant of administration (if there is no Will);
  • Distributing the assets in the deceased’s estate;
  • Locating all the deceased’s assets, including any assets which the deceased is not legally the owner of, but may have a beneficial interest in, by virtue of constructive or resulting trust principles;
  • Recovering debts owed to the deceased estate. This may include claiming occupation rent or ejectment from persons in possession of assets belonging to the deceased, and claiming an accounting from anyone who has meddled with estate assets;
  • Locating possible creditors;
  • Selling assets, including real estate, investments, and personal possessions;
  • Locating and contacting all possible heirs, in and out of Alberta;
  • Contacting utilities and credit card companies to notify them of the death;
  • Filing a final income tax return;
  • Paying off the deceased’s debts;
  • Keeping records of all steps taken to wind up and distribute the estate, including steps to preserve and increase the value of the estate for the benefit of beneficiaries; and
  • Negotiating and settling potential claims of beneficiaries, including for dependent’s relief.

 

 

 

 

Christina Hassan, TEP, Appointed District Governor for Rotary District 5360

We are proud to announce that Christina Hassan, a valued member of our Estates Team, will be assuming the prestigious role of District Governor for Rotary District 5360, overseeing southern Alberta and southwestern Saskatchewan, starting July 1st, 2024. Rotary is a global network of over 1 million people volunteering their skills and resources to solve […]

Carbert Waite LLP Lawyers Recognized as Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in Canada for 2022

Matthew Bobawasky and Eleanor Carlson have been awarded with Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch.

You Need a Will? There Is a Way!

Estate planning is important to make sure your assets will be managed in the way you want after death. This article goes over the most important documents, including your will, power of attorney, and a personal directive.

What is the Cost of a Probate Lawyer?

In Alberta, probate is the court processes that prove the validity of a will and provides the power and control to the executor (also known as a personal representative) to act on the instructions left in the will. To apply for probate of an estate, the individual seeking to be the executor must submit an application to the court.

What Is Probate and Do I Need a Probate Lawyer?

Author: Eleanor Carlson I have been named executor of an estate in Alberta – What is probate and do I need a probate lawyer? In Alberta, probate is the court processes that prove the validity of a will and provides the power and control to the executor (also known as a Personal Representative) to act […]

When Can I Use an Electronic Signature?

Author: Fiona Balaton As the situation with COVID-19 rapidly evolves, many people are being forced to create alternative solutions to conducting business. With many people working from home and conducting meetings by video, electronic signatures are being used more frequently. Electronic Transactions Act The Electronic Transactions Act (“ETA”) sets out how electronic signatures are recognised […]

The Issue of “Issue”: Construction of Wills When Parentage is Contested

It is common for testators to make gifts to their “children”, “descendants” or “issue”, such as a “gift of the residue of my estate to my issue per stirpes.” Because biological lineage is, it would seem, the criterion for entitlement to such gifts, beneficiaries under a will can try to increase their share of the gift by proving that other beneficiaries, such as their siblings, are in fact not biologically related to the testator and are thus not properly members of the class of beneficiaries.

When a Will Does Not Represent Free Will: the Kozak Estate Case and the Law of Undue Influence

What happens when a Will appears not to be the expression of the testator’s own free will, but instead, the will of another? The Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench in Kozak Estate (Re), 2018 ABQB 185 recently explored just such an issue.