Are you managing the settlement of an estate?

First meeting checklist

When you meet with us, bring this:

  • A valid form of identification, like a driver’s licence or passport
  • Information about the co-executors, including their name, address and phone number
    • If there’s more than 1 executor, make sure that all executors are at the first meeting with their information 
  • Information about the deceased, including their name, address, phone number, date of birth and date of death

Bring these documents:

  • An original or notarial copy of proof of death. A proof of death can be one of the following: 
    • An act of death (in Quebec)
    • A death certificate
    • A funeral director’s Statement of Death
    • A physician’s Statement of Death
    • A declaratory judgment of death by a court 
  • The original or notarial copy of the last will (if the deceased had a will)
  • The original or notarial copy of the probated will (if the deceased had a probated will)
  • Any bills or invoices related to funeral expenses or estate properties, like electricity, water or gas bills


What's an executor?

An executor is the person named by the deceased in the will to settle an estate. An estate can include assets like properties, bank accounts and personal possessions.

Sometimes, multiple executors are named in the will. Depending on the province, an executor is also known as:

  • An estate trustee
  • An estate representative
  • A liquidator

The responsibilities of an executor are to:

  • Let others know about the death. This includes all financial institutions that hold any of the deceased’s assets and service providers like telephone services. 
  • Carry out the deceased’s wishes as outlined in the will (if they had a will) or according to local estate laws.
  • Keep track of the financial transactions for the estate, like bills related to properties or funeral expenses. An executor will also manage the deceased’s investments, real estate, personal items, business interests and creditors’ claims.
  • Settle all debts, taxes and liabilities before distributing the assets. 
  • Communicate with the beneficiaries and distribute the assets.
  • File tax returns for the deceased and the estate.

Immediate expenses

Expenses that you may have to pay for right away could be:

  • Funeral costs
  • Probate fees

There might be other bills or utilities that you have to pay.  


What’s probate?

In provinces other than Quebec, probate is the process of getting the court’s confirmation that the will is valid and confirm the executor’s authority to settle the estate.

How does probate protect me?

Probate protects the executor. If a claim is made later that the will is invalid, you may have to pay out of pocket for assets that you have distributed. If you have probate, it protects you against claims under a competing will.

How is probate different in Quebec?

Probate is less common in Quebec, where notarial wills are used most often. Only handwritten wills and wills made in the presence of witnesses must be probated by the court.

The estate settlement process

Make immediate arrangements

Make funeral arrangements and locate the will.

Tell the bank

Let the financial institutions that hold any of the deceased’s assets know.

Get probate

Probate confirms that a will is valid and protects you against a competing will.

Manage the estate

Settle all debts, taxes and liabilities. Then, you can distribute the assets to the deceased’s beneficiaries. 

More information

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Executor guide

This guide can help you understand your role and responsibilities as the executor to settle an estate.

Executor Guide (PDF, 11.5 MB) Opens a new window in your browser.

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Are you settling an estate in Quebec?

Quebec has different steps to settle an estate.

Learn moreabout settling an estate in Quebec. Opens a new window in your browser.

More information about estate settlement

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