As an Estate Executor (Personal Representative) in Alberta, you might sometimes feel as though you\u2019re being pulled in dozens of different directions. Beneficiaries will want their shares of the Estate as soon as possible. Family members who were left out of the Will may contact you wondering why. Your probate lawyer may ask you to produce a laundry list of documentation in short order. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will want to ensure that the deceased\u2019s taxes are paid on time. Creditors may call to settle old debts. Utility companies may continue to withdraw automatic bill payments after the deceased has passed away. You may have to sell the deceased\u2019s house into a depressed real estate market. These are just a few of the challenges that you\u2019ll face as an Estate Executor while administering the deceased\u2019s Estate. The challenges involved with Estate administration, and the varied interests, people, and organizations that you\u2019ll have to deal with throughout the process highlight the importance of a team approach to Estate Executorship. A Team Approach At West Legal, we strongly believe that Estate Administration requires a team approach. If you\u2019re an Estate Executor, it\u2019s important that you work closely with the following people to ensure that the Estate is distributed expeditiously and in a streamlined manner, while minimizing your potential legal liability. Alberta Probate: How Much Does it Cost and How Long Does It Take? A Knowledgeable Probate Lawyer Even if you don\u2019t hire a lawyer to complete the probate application on your behalf, it\u2019s important to, at minimum, consult with a qualified Wills & Estates lawyer to determine whether probate is necessary and whether there are any aspects of the Estate administration process that you may have overlooked. An Experienced Tax Accountant As an Estate Executor, you\u2019ll need to file tax returns for both the deceased, and the Estate, and obtain a Clearance Certificate from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). It\u2019s important to seek the advice and services of an experienced tax accountant who can advise you and help you complete any necessary returns. A Qualified Financial Planner If you\u2019re responsible for holding Estate funds in trust for any period of time, perhaps for a minor beneficiary or otherwise, it\u2019s worthwhile to hire a qualified financial planner from one of the major banks or investment advisories. Doing so reduces the likelihood of you being sued down the road for mismanagement of Estate funds. I'm an Executor. What are my duties? The Funeral Home While people traditionally understand funeral homes\u2019 roles to include preparing the deceased\u2019s body for burial or cremation and arranging a memorial service, funeral homes are also a valuable resource in other ways. They\u2019ll provide you with a death certificate, which you\u2019ll need to provide to various institutions, and they\u2019ll often assist you with applying for the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) death benefit if the deceased qualifies for it. The Loved Ones of the Deceased In certain cases, the deceased\u2019s family members or loved ones aren\u2019t named as the Estate\u2019s Executor, or as beneficiaries in the Will. While your probate lawyer will help you determine what your formal legal obligations are to the spouse, partner, children, or other relatives of the deceased, it\u2019s important that you maintain courteous relationships with the deceased\u2019s loved ones during what is an undoubtedly difficult time. Conversely, it\u2019s important that you maintain control of the Estate, and don\u2019t allow loved ones to \u2018intermeddle\u2019 with the deceased\u2019s assets where they\u2019re not entitled to do so. It can be difficult to balance your obligations to the Estate while maintaining productive relationships with the deceased\u2019s family members and loved ones\u2014your probate lawyer is a good resource who can help you navigate this challenging aspect of Estate Administration. The Deceased\u2019s Financial Institutions As of the writing of this article, 3 of Canada\u2019s 10 largest publicly-traded companies by market capitalization are banks. It can, at times, be difficult to deal with large financial institutions that handle a wide range of transactions on a daily basis. Regardless of whether the deceased banked with a small credit union or one of Canada\u2019s \u2018big 5\u2019 banks, it\u2019s important that you find someone at a local branch whom you can trust and who is willing to work with you. This may take a little persistence on your part, but finding someone at your local bank branch who can help you open an Estate account, consolidate existing accounts, and release the deceased\u2019s funds to the Estate, will make the Estate distribution process easier. In addition to banks and credit unions, the deceased may have held assets with an online investment brokerage or one of Canada\u2019s life insurers or asset managers. You\u2019ll need to work closely with these companies or individuals to ensure that the deceased\u2019s investment holdings are liquidated in a timely and tax-efficient manner. A Local Realtor Oftentimes, a deceased leaves a house or apartment behind when they pass away. The deceased may have also held one or more rental properties. It\u2019s important to establish a relationship with a local realtor who knows the local market and can help you determine the best time to sell the deceased\u2019s property, the right asking price, and whether renovations or repairs will add any value to the Estate in the long run. The Estate\u2019s Beneficiaries As an Executor, dealing with Estate beneficiaries can be tricky. It\u2019s your duty, as the Estate\u2019s Executor, to ensure that the Estate is distributed in a timely manner. You also have other obligations to Estate beneficiaries. A qualified probate lawyer can help you understand and meet those obligations. Your probate lawyer will also help you meet your deadlines in a timely manner, which will reduce the likelihood of unwanted inquiries from overeager or unrealistic beneficiaries. It's also important that you maintain positive relationships with the Estate\u2019s beneficiaries. Even if you\u2019re an honest Executor and keep careful records of your handling of Estate funds, a beneficiary-instigated court inquiry into your handling and distribution of Estate assets will likely be time-consuming, expensive, and stressful. You greatly reduce the likelihood of any such challenge by being respectful, polite, informative, communicative, and prompt with the Estate\u2019s beneficiaries. Government Institutions During the Estate administration process, you\u2019ll likely need to deal with various government and quasi-governmental organizations such as the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), Canada Pension Plan (CPP), Veteran\u2019s Affairs (VA), Canada Post, the Alberta Land Titles Office, Alberta Registries, the Canada Savings Bond Program, and other such institutions. Extra-Provincial Organizations\/Lawyers If the deceased owned property or assets outside of Alberta, you may need to deal with various organizations and individuals in another province or country. In some cases, you may need to hire an out-of-province lawyer to assist you with an extra-provincial probate application or other legal matters. Let Us Help You Build Your Team! If you\u2019re an Estate Executor or Personal Representative, the experienced probate lawyers at West Legal can help you build your team. We\u2019re able to refer you to qualified realtors, accountants, financial advisors, funeral homes, and other resources while guiding you through the legal aspects of the Estate administration process. If you\u2019d like to get started, contact the Wills & Estates lawyers at West Legal today for a free-of-charge, no-obligation consultation. firstname.lastname@example.org or 403-723-0175 to get started.