Checklist of Executor’s Duties



Check If Completed

Check When completed

1. Make the funeral/burial arrangements.




2. Identify immediate cash requirements for family.




3. Obtain the original death certificate.




4. Publish an obituary (note that although this is not required by law, many families like to publish an obituary).




5. Find the origina1 will and take it into your possession.

Review the will carefully.




6. Set up a record-keeping system for yourself to keep track of everything you do as executor.




7. Advise family members that you are the executor.




8. Advise any designated beneficiaries of the death. Give residuary beneficiaries of the estate a copy of the will.

(lawyer can do)




9. Change the locks on the deceased’s home if it is now vacant.




10. Take small valuables such as jewelry from the deceased’s home and store them in a safe place.

Secure vehicles.




11. Prepare a list of all family members, and obtain information such as birth dates.




12. Prepare a list of beneficiaries of the estate, complete with addresses and birth dates.




13. Notify the deceased’s bank and/or financial advisor, and request date of death information about all accounts.




14. Open an executor’s bank account.




15. List the contents of any safe deposit box the deceased owned.




16. Contact any insurance companies that held life insurance policies on the deceased and ask for confirmation of policy amounts and beneficiary designations.




17. Go through the deceased’s paperwork found at his or her home and place of business to collect information about assets and liabilities. (tax returns, bank statements, insurance, etc.)




18. Cancel the deceased’s credit cards. (lawyer can do)




19. Notify OAS or CPP programs and any private pension providers of the death.

(lawyer can do)




20. If the deceased owned a home that is now vacant, confirm that it is insured.




21. If the deceased rented accommodations, notify the landlord and make arrangements to remove belongings.




22. Redirect the deceased’s mail to your address.




23. Cancel utilities, telephone, Internet, water, electricity, subscriptions, etc.




24. Cancel passport, driver’s license and all other ID

(lawyer can do)




25. Notify Canada Revenue Agency of the death.

(lawyer can do)




26. File any tax returns for previous years that the deceased had not filed.




27. Prepare a detailed inventory of all real estate and personal property of the deceased, as well as all bills and debts.




28. Get appraisals of real estate.




29. Get valuations of personal property.




30. Advise any surviving joint owners of property of the death.




31. Apply for the CPP death benefit.

(lawyer can do)




32. If there are insurance policies payable to the estate, prepare the paperwork for the insurance company for payment.




33. If there is an RRSP or RRIF payable to the estate, make arrangements with the financial institution for payment.




34. Collect any debts owed to the deceased.




35. Deposit all amounts received into the executor’s estate bank account.




36. Close the deceased’s bank accounts and transfer them to the estate bank account. If large sums are involved, ensure they are invested.




37. Determine whether you wish to place a newspaper advertisement for creditors and claimants.

(lawyer can do)




38. If any dependent relief claims are filed, hire a lawyer to assist you in representing the estate.




39. Determine if probate necessary. As soon as you receive the probate order from the court, begin the process of preparing the estate for distribution.




40. Distribute household and personal belongings according to the Will.




41. Talk to the beneficiaries about how they wish to receive their shares (i.e., find out whether assets need to be sold, or whether some beneficiaries want to receive certain assets as they are).




42. Prepare paperwork to transfer securities.




43. List real estate for sale.




44. Pay the debts and liabilities of the estate as funds become available.




45. Hire an accountant to prepare the final T1 return for the deceased.

If a T3 return for the estate is required, hire an accountant to prepare it.




46. Calculate your executor’s compensation.




47. Prepare a full accounting of the estate and distribute it to the beneficiaries.




48. Prepare Releases for the beneficiaries to sign (this is not required by law but most executors prefers to have signed Releases).

(lawyer can do)




49. If beneficiaries do not approve of your accounting, hire a lawyer to help you pass your accounts through the courts.




50. Set up any trusts directed by the Will.




51. Meet with a financial advisor to determine the investment particulars for the trust, and to arrange for ongoing review of the investments.




52. Keep enough funds to pay future income tax and expenses, and use the rest to make payments to beneficiaries.




53. Request a Tax Clearance Certificate from Canada Revenue Agency.




44. When the Tax Certificate is received, pay out any remaining funds to beneficiaries according to the Will.