David H. Dunsmuir, Licensed Professional Corporation - serving the legal needs of the Fredericton Ormocto area of NB. New Brunswick's finest legal cousel for Family law, Real Estate dealings, Civil Litigation and a wide variety of other areas. Check out our web page about Value-Based billing! Click here to contact David H. Dunsmuir, serving Fredericton New Brunswick's legal needs, and providing advice and counsel in Business Law, Civil Litigation, Elder Law, Family Law, Immigration, Real Estate, Wills and Estates.
David Dunsmuir has been practicing law since 1992, and specializes in business law, elder law, civil litigation, family law, immigration, wills and estates, power of attorney, personal injury law, and real estate law. David H Dunsmuir, Fredericton's leading barrister and solciitor, attorney at law. Value-based billing allows us to provide you with an easy, affordable and calculable way to take care of your legal needs. It enables you to have the best lawey available in the Fredericton area, and know in advance what you can expect to pay for standard legal services. If you are in fredericton new brunswick and engaged in any kind of civil litigation, David H. Dunsmuir should be your first choice in NB attorneys, barristers or solicitors.
Visit David H Dunsmuir Licenced Professional Corporation, serving Fredericton NB in the areas of Civil Litigation, Family Law, Real Estate Law and Immigration Law
David H. Dunsmuir provides expert advice in the area of Business Law, as well as expert advice in Family Law and Civil Litigation
For Civil Litigation Law, David H. Dunsmuir, Licenced Professional Corporation, is the best available resource for you!
Elder Law is a complex and delicate field. Why trust yourself to anyone else? David H. Dunsmuir is Fredericton's expert in all areas of Elder Law.
David H. Dunsmuir is Fredericton New Brunswick's best resource for Family Law, whether you're dealing with divorce, custody, adoption or any other subject related to Family Law.
Are you trying to immigrate to Canada? If you're immigrating to Canada, David H. Dunsmuir provides excellent immigration advice and legal services.
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There is no more delicate a time than when a loved one passes. For all your needs regarding wills, probate and estate law, David H. Dunsmuir is the legal advisor for you. Whether you're drafting your own will, or require help executing or understanding the will of a friend or family member, David will provide exceptional legal advice in the areas of Wills and Probate Law and Estate Law.

Duties of the Executor

The duties of a personal representative (executor/administrator) may be grouped into several broad categories:

  • Ascertaining the Estate
  • Collecting the assets of the Estate
  • Preservation and protection of the assets of the Estate
  • Management of the assets of the Estate
  • Giving notice to beneficiaries and others
  • Valuing the Estate for tax and distribution purposes
  • Preparation and filing of all necessary tax returns
  • Payment of all legitimate debts and expenses of the Estate
  • Passing of accounts to the beneficiaries or before the Probate Court
  • Distribution of the assets to heirs and beneficiaries
  • Closure of the Estate


Ascertaining the Estate

  • Obtain decedent's Last Will and any Codicils (amendments to a will)

  • Obtain any letter of instruction from the decedent

  • Consider anatomical bequests and funeral instructions, if such instructions are included in the will.

  • Choose a lawyer, accountant, and any other professional advisors

  • Consider signing a release that will allow advisors to obtain information they may need to perform their duties

  • Analyze the Will (with advisors) and obtain an understanding of the decedent's intent/wishes

  • Determine whether you are required to obtain a bond

  • Meet with estate attorney and agree on delegation of duties.

  • Discuss with attorney:

    • Fees
    • Choice of appraisers (if necessary or advisable)
    • Notification requirements
    • Tax reporting requirements
    • Opening of safe deposit boxes
    • Closely held business interests or other unusual assets
    • Pending litigation (if any) concerning the decedent or determination of any rights to make a claim (insurance, negligence, etc.)
  • Obtain the following records, at a minimum:

    • Death certificate
    • Bank records
    • Cancelled checks and checkbooks for past 3 years
    • Income tax returns for past 3 years
    • Insurance policies and appraisals
    • Medical information
    • Credit cards, debit cards, etc.
    • Securities, travelers checks, etc.
    • Closely held business records
    • Retirement plan documents
    • Identify jewelry, fine arts and transportable valuables for inventory and consideration for placement in vault, etc.
    • Review all insurance policies and consider cancellation, and increased or decreased coverage,
    • Begin compiling data on inventory of estate assets
    • Ascertain if any assets are located in other Provinces/countries
    • Review several years check books for insurance payment information


Collection of Assets

  • Find and take possession of the estate assets and financial records

  • Cash on hand and in bank

  • Personal assets and valuables

  • Make arrangements with banks and brokerage houses, etc. for changes in account, names, identification numbers, signers, etc.

  • Arrange for safe deposit box opening:

    • Bring key
    • Determine if representative of beneficiaries, wish to be present, or failing which an independent witness as to contents if these are not to be inventoried in presence of bank officer
    • Arrange secure transport if valuables are to be removed
    • Request insurance proceeds to which estate is entitled


Preservation of Estate

  • Make security arrangements for decedent's house, if vacant (and during the funeral)

  • Make security arrangement for decedent's other assets, such as business premises

  • Secure car and house keys and change house locks


Management of Assets

  • Cancel club memberships and collect prepaid dues

  • Cancel subscriptions and obtain refund on unexpired portion of subscription

  • Cancel credit cards, debit cards, etc.:

  • Inquire whether there is credit card life insurance in effect

  • Obtain cards from employees, family members, etc.

  • Consider surviving spouse's wish to have new cards issued in own name

  • Set up the estate's accounting system to account for all monetary transactions subsequent to death. (Savings, checking, investment accounts, etc.)

  • Perform accounting functions on an ongoing basis

  • Determine the type and frequency of accounting to be made to beneficiaries

  • Determine if there were any "death bed" gift checks issued which had not cleared the bank as of the time of death. (Not to be considered as completed gifts as of date of death)

  • Set up accounting system to keep track of reimbursable expenses incurred by personal representative on behalf of the estate

  • If a closely held business is involved, arrange for continued operation and/or orderly closing of business

  • Determine if securities such as savings bonds should be cashed in or kept invested

  • Redeem traveler's checks

  • Determine the type and frequency of accounting to be made to beneficiaries



  • Notify all persons entitled to such notification (such as next of kin) of your position as personal representative and change mailing addresses

  • Notify bankers and other advisors of decedent's death


Valuation of Estate

  • Determine what assets require appraisal (if any)

  • Locate and engage services of necessary appraisers

  • Obtain appraisals, if needed



  • Notify Old Age Security and Canada Pension Plan of date of death to cancel all pension payments after the month of death, unless such pension benefits are inherited by a surviving spouse

  • Review estate and income tax planning with lawyer and accountant

  • Obtain information to prepare and file decedent's final personal income tax return:

    • Consider extension of time to file
    • Consider joint return with surviving spouse
    • Consider the need for amended returns
    • Consider whether any testamentary trusts will require the retention and investment of assets of the estate, which will require the filing of annual trust income tax returns
  • File terminal return to notify Canada Revenue Agency of death of tax-payer

Debt Payment

  • Determine which debts should be paid and which should be contested

  • Pay expenses of administration (lawyer's fees, accountant's fees, appraisal fees, personal representative's fees, funeral expenses)

  • Pay income taxes when due


Distribution of Estate

  • Determine if there are any unusual circumstances warranting early estate distributions

  • Prepare an inventory of assets, liabilities, income, and expenses, including any proposed amount of executor/administrator’s fees and provide copies to the beneficiaries along with draft releases for execution and return

  • Obtain the approval of all beneficiaries

  • Obtain a clearance certificate from the Canada Revenue Agency confirming all tax liabilities are paid before making a distribution of the assets of the estate

  • Confirm that all other liabilities of the estate are paid, including advertising for possible creditors

  • Upon receipt of signed releases from all beneficiaries, make distributions to beneficiaries

  • If any of the beneficiaries refuse to approve executor/administrator accounts, consult with lawyer for advice as to the Probate Court application to obtain order approving of accounts and directing discharge of executor/administrator upon distribution of estate in accordance with directions of the Probate Court

  • Distribute specific bequests of tangible personal property

  • Supervise any selection process required


Closing of Estate

  • Prepare and review the final accounting

  • Review checklist to ascertain that all required duties performed

  • Obtain receipt of releases from all heirs and beneficiaries

  • Deliver final reporting letter to beneficiaries




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