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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 of the deceased as executor either by way of appointment in the will (testate) or because there was no will and you decide to step forward to assist with administering the estate (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: “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 time, 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.

Administering an estate is a detail-oriented and highly technical process. At AGB Lawyers we have a team of lawyers and experienced law clerks/legal assistants to assist with all aspects of the Estate Administration process and we assist people like you every day. For a free ½ hour consultation please contact us at 613-232-8832 or visit our website at