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What must executors do if an estate is reopened?

From paying probate to distributing assets, there are many things on the to do list when it comes to executing a will. The question is, is a British Columbia executor's job ever over? The answer depends on the will in question. If previously unknown beneficiaries or creditors surface years later, executors may still be responsible for correcting the situation. 

The good news for British Columbia executors is that is is unusual for an estate to be reopened. People have become more conscious of the need for proper record-keeping, so these kinds of surprises are less common than they perhaps used to be. Nonetheless, they can be an unpleasant surprise for those managing estate administration.

Legally, an executor continues to be the official "manager" of an estate even once all known assets have been sold and distributed. The executor's responsibility to correct an issue that arises after assets have been distributed can vary. If the individual was thorough in notifying any potential creditors and beneficiaries during the administration process, their liability in the issue may differ from someone who did not do such a complete job.

Ultimately, when a creditor or beneficiary attempts to reopen an estate, a judge will likely be involved to review the application. The context of an executors actions will play a major role in a judge's decisions, so it is a good idea for those managing estate administration to keep clear records of their actions and take all possible steps to identify creditors and beneficiaries. Those facing legal issues related to the reopening of an estate should contact a British Columbia lawyer.

Source: advisor.ca, "What happens when an estate gets reopened", James Dolan, April 13, 2018

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