2. Learn who deals with your estate after you die

What is a will and what happens if I die without making one?
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2. Learn who deals with your estate after you die

The person who deals with your estate after you die is called an estate trustee. They are also sometimes called executors, estate representatives, personal representatives, estate administrators, or liquidators.

Being an estate trustee is a big responsibility and can sometimes last for years. You should choose someone you trust and who is organized and responsible.

An estate trustee must follow a process called "administering" or "winding up" the estate. This process can include:

  • selling your assets
  • paying debts you owe
  • filing your final income tax return
  • distributing the property in your estate according to your will or the intestacy rules

If you die without a will or don't name an estate trustee in your will, someone has to apply to the court to be appointed as your estate trustee.

There are rules that say who can apply to be an estate trustee. For example, the person who applies must live in Ontario. And, your married or common-law spouse usually has the right to apply first.

Asking the court to appoint an estate trustee can cost a lot of money and take a lot of time. Nothing can happen with your estate until an estate trustee is appointed. This means your debts can't be paid and your beneficiaries can't get anything.

You can avoid this by naming someone to be your estate trustee in your will.

You May Also Need

Ontario Securities Commission
Ontario Securities Commission
Ontario Securities Commission
Reviewed: October 31, 2019

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