As the Executor you are not only responsible to the beneficiaries, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is the first and last creditor of an estate. CRA will hold you personally responsible for non-payment of any taxes if you have made distributions to the beneficiaries and there is not enough money left to pay all outstanding taxes.
An Executor’s specific priorities will be dependent on the deceased’s circumstances. Immediately after the death the Executor is responsible for arranging for the funeral if it has not already been planned and prepaid. However, the Executor may also be juggling supporting a surviving spouse and dependent children, locating and safeguarding assets and other important time-sensitive issues during the grieving period.