Estate Property Services
Executor of an Estate

4 Tips for Executors

An Executor faces a complex array of tasks and responsibilities to fulfill the terms of the deceased person’s Will. It can be even more difficult if the executor is emotionally overwhelmed by the loss of a loved one, lives in a different geographic region, or has ongoing responsibilities that must be kept current.

Estates have varying degrees of complexity. Some can be handled with a minimum of time and effort. Others require a great deal of time and professional assistance to complete. The following steps will help an executor set a plan and decide which outside resources are valuable for carrying out the terms of the Will:

STEP #1: Understand Your Responsibilities.

In general, the executor’s responsibilities start with funeral arrangements and end with final distribution of the assets; however, there can be many intermediate steps and responsibilities. The lawyer for the estate will help you understand your responsibilities. Information is also available on various Internet websites. You can link to some of those sites under About Us / Resources and Information.

A simple division of the steps for completing your responsibility is as follows:

Preliminary Arrangements;

Secure the deceased person’s Will, personal identification documents, and credit cards.
Review the financial status of the estate and the terms of the Will with a professional to determine the next steps.
Provide the beneficiaries with a copy of the Will or relevant portions of the Will.
Complete funeral arrangements.

Securing the Assets;

Secure the residence, arrange for safe storage of valuables and documents, and confirm adequate insurance with the property insurer.
Advise the bank, investment company, personal insurance company, pension plans, etc. about the deceased’s death.
Cancel leases, non-essential services (cable, telephone, etc.), driver’s license, all credit cards and arrange for any refunds.
Redirect all mail to your address.

Assemble, Inventory, and Value the Assets;

Consolidate the deceased person’s existing bank accounts into a new account in the name of the estate.
Identify and list all assets, determine current value and adjusted cost base for tax purposes.
Transfer title to all real estate, mortgages, investment vehicles and life insurance policies to your name as executor of the estate so that payments are made to the estate’s bank account.
Collect any outstanding debts and payments due to the deceased.
Determine which assets should be sold and retained.

Paying Debts, Legacies and Taxes;

Pay all debts including credit card balances, line of credit, services, judgments, family law agreements, legacies, etc.
Seek professional advice if liabilities exceed assets.
Prepare and file the deceased’s person’s income tax for the current year and any other period not previously filed.
Prepare and file estate income tax for the period subsequent to death.
Obtain clearance certificates from all relevant tax authorities.

Final Distribution of the Estate;

Prepare and distribute a final report, accounts, and claim for compensation to all beneficiaries.
Obtain approval from the beneficiaries.
Distribute the assets according to the terms of the Will.

The above information is meant to be a general guide. Some estates may not require every step and other estates may require additional steps. Please consult with the estate’s lawyer to confirm the necessary steps for your situation.

STEP #2: Set Your Plan.

Working in conjunction with the estate’s lawyer, set out a list of the tasks to be done. Then, look for outside sources to help you accomplish some of those tasks.

Some outside sources may provide their services as part of the ongoing business relationship with the deceased person (banker, financial advisor, insurance agent, etc.) and others will provide services for a fee. Once you have received information and/or quotations detailing the tasks outside services can complete, you can decide which tasks you will do yourself and which tasks can be done by outside resources.

Most Wills allow for financial compensation to the executor and reasonable expenditures for other services to complete the terms of the Will. The executor must make decisions about the cost of managing the estate based on a number of factors including: the size and complexity of the estate, the expectations of the family, the best interest of the beneficiaries, and the wishes of the deceased.

So who can help?



Funeral Director

Bank Manager

Financial Advisor

Life Insurance Agent

Property Insurance Agent




Auction House*




Maintenance Contractor*


Disposal Company*

*Estate Property Services is a service company that manages all aspects of the disposition of personal and household property on behalf of the executor of an estate. EPS acts as a single source to co-ordinate the activities of all professionals, trades and services marked with an asterisk (*).

When the decision is made about who will complete each task, it’s time to set your plan in motion.

STEP #3: Delegate Responsibilities and Monitor Outside Resources.

Having decided which tasks you will manage and which tasks will be managed by outside sources, you need to communicate your expectation for their performance in an agreement and set deadlines for completion of each task.

Now your responsibility is to monitor that each outside resource completes the task as promised. Then accumulate all the information from the tasks performed to support the information in the final report and accounting to the beneficiaries.

STEP #4: Complete the Estate

Working in conjunction with the estate’s lawyer, prepare and distribute the final report, the accounts, and your claim for compensation to all beneficiaries. Once you have received approval of the report and accounts from the beneficiaries, you can distribute the net assets of the estate to the beneficiaries according to the terms of the Will.

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