Administering an Estate: Safeguarding Assets of the Estate
In our last blog post, we talked about some of the first steps you have to take if you’ve been named as the executor of someone’s estate. The first task on that list was to safeguard the assets of the estate. In today's article, we're going to set out some helpful tips on how to go about doing this.
1. Search for cash, insurance policies, securities, jewellery, and other valuables, and arrange for their safekeeping.
2. Lock up the deceased’s residence if it is not occupied. Advise the police if it is not under proper supervision.
3. Arrange for an immediate inventory of all personal assets.
4. Check the insurance on the deceased’s assets (e.g., house, furniture, motor vehicles). Check the expiry dates and check the vacancy provisions to ensure the coverage continues. Most insurance policies will allow you to leave a house vacant for 30 days and still provide coverage. Get vacancy coverage after that time. Notify the insurers of the death.
5. Arrange for interim management of the deceased’s business.
6. Notify banks or other financial institutions of the death and make necessary arrangements. Collect and deposit any outstanding cheques (pensions, dividends, interest, salary). Cancel the deceased’s credit cards.
7. Check for mortgages (and determine if they are life-insured) and agreements for sale and make the payments to keep them up-to-date, if possible.
8. Redirect mail, if necessary.
9. Check leases and tendencies. Pay rent if owed, if possible. Give tenants notice about where to send rent payments and give notice of termination, if necessary.
10. Review the last checks written by the deceased to ensure that there were no irregularities.
Keep in mind that while these suggestions apply to many estates, some may not be applicable to the estate that you are administering. On the other hand, this is by no means an exhaustive list of all the steps you may need to take to carry out your duties and responsibilities. If you have questions about any of the information above, or about the estate administration process in general, your best bet is to seek out professional advice.