What Happens to My Estate When I Die? The Nuts and Bolts of Estate Administration

What is meant by administering an Estate? A personal representative (executor) is the person legally appointed to perform the administration of the Deceased’s Estate and is entrusted to collect the assets of the Estate, pay any remaining debts from the Deceased’s Estate, and distribute whatever assets are remaining to the beneficiaries.

If someone dies without a Will in place, then a family member or Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee may be appointed by the Court to administer the estate.

The amount of time it takes to administer an Estate will depend on the size and complexity of the Deceased’s total assets including real property, personal belongings, vehicles, business interests and investments.



When you have no one to name as your personal representative

Sometimes there is simply no one that you can name as your Personal Representative. Maybe all of your relatives are overseas or do not live in Alberta. Naming someone who is out of province can be problematic for them because the logistics of dealing with an estate that is far away can be very overwhelming and unrealistic. Also, if a personal representative resides outside of the Province of Alberta, the Court may require that this individual post a cash bond or security equivalent to the value of the Estate. The thinking is that if the personal representative were to abscond with the estate, then at least, there is a cash bond or security held at Court to protect the beneficiaries.

There is also the issue in dealing with beneficiaries. Sometimes beneficiaries are not happy with the terms of a Will and with their entitlement. This can be very difficult for an individual who has never administered an estate before because they are left to deal with disappointment and resentment that some beneficiaries may feel. There can be very unrealistic expectations of beneficiaries that may be difficult to handle and some beneficiaries may even go so far as to question the authority of a personal representative. In circumstances such as this, it is sometimes more feasible to name an impartial party as your personal representative as they do not have any emotional investment and can more easily navigate the demands of beneficiaries.

Estate administration is also a lot of work and can be a very thankless job, particularly if someone dies unexpectedly and their information is not in order.

How can AzPerLegal help?

AzPerLegal Services Inc. offers estate administration services. We can act as personal representative for your estate which would entail obtaining the Grant of Probate and thereafter, administering your estate. What does estate administration look like? Firstly, as personal representative, we are required to either handle, or assist the family, with funeral arrangements. While in the process of dealing with the funeral home, we will likely be required to complete all the necessary paperwork to obtain what is called the “survivor” or “death” benefit which is a one time $2,500.00 payment from the Government of Canada to the estate, among other documents. We will apply for a Grant of Probate, notify all necessary family members, friends, financial institutions, governmental authorities, etc. of your death and will take the necessary steps to complete the administration of your estate once the Grant of Probate is obtained.

We will ensure that all final tax returns are performed and a Clearance Certificate obtained and once all debts have been properly paid out from the Estate, we will distribute, to the beneficiaries, their beneficial gift.


“Christine is professional and fun to work with…”

“My wife and I had a call with Christine for our Will and Power of Attorney. Christine is professional and fun to work with, she really made everything easy to understand and the meeting was a breeze!”