Yes, you can refuse to act as an executor. You are not required to act as an executor just because you were appointed. However, you must renounce your position BEFORE you start acting or do anything as the executor. Although it is possible to renounce the executor position once you have started acting or have completed part of the administration, it becomes exponentially more difficult (and expensive) and the court may not allow you to renounce the position, and require you to complete the administration of the estate.
If you are appointed as the executor (and you are willing to act), some of the initial things that you should do in your capacity as the executor:
- make sure you got the original of the Will and it is in a safe place (you will need it later!)
- make funeral arrangements (TIP: check for funeral arrangements instructions in the Will or in other documents of the deceased and check if the deceased pre-paid for any part of the funeral arrangements)
- if there is real property involved and the deceased was the only person living in the property:
- change the locks (trust me, it is important)
- call the insurance agent/broker to confirm insurance is valid and arrange for vacant property insurance (TIP: make sure you know how often the property has to be checked under the vacancy rider)
- make sure that access to personal effects (i.e. jewelry, etc.) is restricted
- cancel credit cards and notify financial institutions of death
- GET PROFESSIONAL ADVICE – i.e. consider retaining a lawyer and accountant to assist you with the administration of the estate
The above is not an exhaustive list by any means. It is only a starting point and I recommend that you consult with appropriate advisors.
It is not always required to probate the Will, as the executor appointed in the Will has authority to deal with all assets of the deceased from the time of death regardless of whether or not the Will is probated.
Requirement for probate of the Will depends on the assets involved in the estate. However, many financial institutions, life insurance companies, The Property Registry, and other agencies may require for the Will to be probated before such institution releases assets held by or administered through such institution.
The probate fees rate in Manitoba is 0.7% of the value of the inventory filed in respect of the estate, with a minimum of $70.
If the total estate value is $10,000 or less, the fee will be $70.
If the total estate value is over $10,000, the fee will be calculated as $70 plus $7 for every additional $1,000 or fraction thereof.
The probate fees are only payable in respect of all personal assets and real property located in Manitoba. For example, if an individual had a cottage located in Ontario, the cottage must still be listed on the inventory but the probate fee will not be payable in respect of that cottage in Manitoba and would be payable in Ontario. For purposes of calculating the probate fees, the only debt that can be “deducted” is registered real property debt or other lienable amount. If you are not certain if certain debt can be deducted, you should obtain appropriate advice. You cannot deduct debt such as credit card balances, department store card balances, etc. for purposes of calculating the inventory value.
You can find probate fees calculator HERE (NOTE: link will open in a new window)
A Notarial Copy of a document is copy of the original made by a Notary Public and the Notary Public attaching a certificate to the copy certifying that it is a true copy of the original document. Only the Notary Public has the authority and seal required to make and certify a true copy (with a seal) of an original document. The Notary Public must have the original document present to view and make a copy in order to make a Notarial Copy of a document (i.e. you cannot bring a copy of a document and request for a Notary Public to issue a Notarial Copy).
In Manitoba, only a lawyer can be a Notary Public subject to very limited exceptions or special appointments.
An executor or an administrator of estate often will need multiple Notarial Copies of the important documents, such as the Will or the death certificate.
If you need Notarial Copies or need help with the administration of an estate, please do not hesitate to call me to discuss.
A lawyer will want to know all names that a person has used in the past, either as a legal name or as nicknames, which are often referred to as “AKAs” or “also known as”.
The reason a lawyer will want to capture all names used is to avoid issues and delays where previously used name is not included in the grant of probate or letters of administration application but the person has an account under such name.
For example, assume the person’s full legal name was Robert John Smith but the person has always been known to friends and others as Bob Smith and had various bank accounts under Bob Smith. If the grant of probate or letters of administration only includes Robert John Smith, the bank may want additional information or proof that Robert John Smith shown in the grant of probate or letters of administration is the same person as Bob Smith shown on the account at the bank, which will lead to additional delays. If the grant of probate or letters of administration includes Robert John Smith (also known as Bob Smith), it will be clear that the person has used several names and may have accounts under such different names.
The Notice to Creditors is a notice that is published in a newspaper and a legal publication to allow “unknown” creditors to file a claim with the estate’s legal representative(s).
It is not mandatory in Manitoba to file a Notice to Creditors. Filing such notice, however, will provide protection to the legal representative(s) from personal liability. If the Notice to Creditors will be published, it must meet the requirements of The Trustee Act (Manitoba) in order to be a valid Notice to Creditors.
The costs vary depending on the publication where the notice will be published (e.g. costs publishing in The Winnipeg Free Press will be different than publishing in the newspaper circulated in the rural areas).
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