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The Duties of an Executor

The Duties of an Executor

Posted by Graeme Maitland — filed in Wills and Estates Law

When writing a will, one of the most important steps is deciding who will administer your estate.  The person you name is called an Executor and they are empowered to do a lot of things on your behalf.  To better understand their duties before you choose, or if you are an Executor and don’t know where to start, here are the basics.

The Executor as Trustee

The most important role of the Executor is that of the Trustee of the estate.  This is not just a title, it has important legal obligations attached to it.  As trustee, an Executor must exercise the powers they are given with diligence and are personally liable if negligent.

Trustees have a fiduciary duty to the estate, meaning that they must administer the estate for the benefit of the beneficiaries.  It is a relationship of trust and confidence and is granted the highest standard of care in law because of this.

There is one major difference between a traditional trustee and an Executor.  A trustee can appoint other trustees and can leave the trust.  An Executor cannot appoint co-Executors and is an Executor for life.

Other Duties

Aside from the overarching fiduciary duty, an Executor has specific duties they must accomplish.  These include:

  • disposal of the deceased’s body
  • schedule all the deceased’s assets and ascertain their value
  • arrange to have application made to the Probate Court for the issue of proper grant of administration
  • complete and file any applicable succession duty forms
  • advertise for creditors
  • complete and file income tax returns
  • pay funeral, legal, and testamentary expenses, succession duties, and income taxes, as well as any outstanding debts and meet all uncompleted obligations of the deceased
  • claim all debts due
  • keep accounts

This is not a complete list, but these are the common things an Executor must do in the course of administering an estate.

If you require a will or have been named as an Executor and have questions as to your duties, speak to one of the lawyers at Aarbo Fuldauer LLP in Calgary.

Address: 3rd Floor, 1131 Kensington Road NW, Calgary, AB, T2N 3P4

Phone: (403) 571-5120


The information in the blog is not legal advice. Do not treat or rely upon it as legal advice.  If you require legal assistance, please contact a lawyer
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