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.
“Some people live quite private lives and they die unexpectedly and people don’t even know to look,” said Darren Jack, chairman of a task force for the Unclaimed Property Professionals Organization.
While no one likes to look into the mirror and face their own mortality, admitting its inevitability allows us to take steps to ensure our wishes are clear, understood, and carried out to the maximum extent possible, with the least cost. In other words, ensuring you have a clear, valid and effective will that articulates both the letter and spirit of your wishes, appointing an Executor who has both the skills and the time to carry them out, and providing your Executor with an inventory of your assets and obligations (including where they are located and how they can be accessed) are critical elements to achieving your wishes.
Getting Your Financial Affairs in Order differs from individual to individual. For many of us, however, there are stark similarities depending on your age, stage of life and a number of other factors.
Interestingly, in our experience the size or dollar value of an estate is not what determines how complex or difficult it will be to execute. Nor does the varying number of beneficiaries add complexity and therefore time and costs. The single biggest factor that adds cost, time, frustration and family discord is if someone does not have their financial affairs in reasonable order.