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As an estate executor, what duties will I perform?

Acting as the executor of an estate can be quite challenging. Depending upon the size and scope of the estate, there can be many duties expected of an executor. In some cases, the entire process can be very time-consuming and can have a draining effect on a person's emotions. However, it can also be a rewarding experience as you are essentially protecting the interests and the wishes of someone who has passed away.

The list of an estate executor's duties is quite extensive, probably too large to delve completely into in a simple blog post. With that said, here are some of the most important duties an estate executor is expected to carry out once confirmed as the executor of a will or estate.

-- Make arrangements for the deceased's funeral or memorial service as well as the disposition of his or her remains.

-- Take steps to protect the deceased's estate. This includes cancelling charge cards, changing locks on the estate, placing valuables into safekeeping and other necessary steps.

-- Send notifications to any beneficiaries of the deceased's estate.

-- Apply for any benefits that are payable to the estate including death benefits, pensions or life insurance.

-- Pay off the expenses and debts the deceased owed upon death.

-- Distribute the deceased's estate to the named beneficiaries in accordance with the will or intestacy law.

These six points are just a few of the duties you will be expected to perform as an estate executor. While important, the task can overwhelm a person unfamiliar with the process. Hiring a lawyer can help you step up to the challenge and give you confidence that the deceased's interests remain protected throughout the process.

Source: The Canadian Bar Association, "Your Duties As Executor," accessed Feb. 02, 2016

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