Duties of a Personal Representative*

Note: Do not meddle with the estate if you plan to renounce your right to probate.

  • Make the funeral arrangements (usually the family does this, but ultimately it is the responsibility of the personal representative);
  • Search for cash, jewellery and other valuables and put them in safekeeping;
  • Locate and secure other assets (bank accounts, property, vehicles, bonds, stocks, etc);
  • Make sure all assets and property are properly insured;
  • Locate original Will and other important documents (such as, marriage agreements, personal documents, tax returns, certificates, financial records, etc.);
  • Redirect mail;
  • Obtain a Grant of Probate (where there is a will) or Letters of Administration (if no will);
  • Collect and deposit any cheques owing to the deceased and death benefits payable;
  • Ensure tax returns are filed (including any delinquent returns);
  • Ensure the creditors are paid;
  • Sell assets where applicable;
  • Keep proper accounting records (i.e. all deposits and expenditures from the estate must be itemized and supported by receipts or other documentation) - these accounts ought to be kept current ( THIS DUTY IS CRITICAL);
  • Ensure the estate funds are earning an income and are not wasting (the investments you can make may be limited - you ought to obtain legal advice on which investments are permissible);
  • Defend or prosecute actions on behalf of the estate (this could include actions for the collection of debts owing to or by the estate, claims against the estate pursuant to the variation provisions of the Wills Estates & Succession Act, wills interpretation application, or other types of litigation);
  • Distribute the estate according to the terms of the will (cannot distribute for 210 days);
  • Pass your accounts as the personal representative.

* This is not an exhaustive list, but are applicable to most estates.