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What executors must do before distributing assets

When someone passes away, it can sometimes be difficult to figure out which steps to take first. There are many responsibilities faced by British Columbia executors, including overseeing probate, hiring an accountant, conducting an inventory of assets and even distributing those assets. Beneficiaries will often pressure executors to distribute assets as soon as possible if they know they will receive a big payout. But what is really the best order of operations?

Distributing assets too early in the process is one of the bigger mistakes executors can make. British Columbia law spells out several responsibilities that executors have. They are liable if they fail to oversee the process properly, which may mean hefty fines.

Before distributing assets, executors must make a complete list of what is included in the estate. Liabilities must also be included, as debts will need to be paid prior to distribution. Beneficiaries who are eager to get their share of the estate should be advised that this process is critical in order to define their exact entitlements. After all, it is impossible to distribute items when their worth is unknown.

If a house needs to be sold in order to distribute assets to all beneficiaries, it is a good idea to keep it furnished prior to sale as people are often more likely to buy a furnished home. Assets within the home like art or furniture can also be sold to cover the cost of selling the home itself. Executors who are wondering about their legal responsibilities and the order in which to execute will should speak with a British Columbia lawyer.

Source: legacy.com, "As estate executor, is it OK to distribute assets early in the process?", April 10, 2018

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