Administering an Estate: Preparing a Listing of Assets and Liabilities
In our last two blog posts, we've been talking about some of the steps you need to take in carrying out your duties as the executor of an estate. One of the duties of an executor is to prepare a listing of the estate assets and liabilities. To give you a starting point, we have set out some suggestions below on how to go about preparing such a listing.
1. Arrange with the deceased’s bank to view and list the contents of the safety deposit box. A bank employee is required to review the contents with you and make a list. Write down the names, numbers and maturity dates of the securities; expiry dates of warrants and conversion rights; the transfer agents for stocks and bonds; details of unclipped coupons; and dates of issue of stock certificates.
2. Record all the expenses you incur in doing your job as executor, including funeral expenses. Keep a record of all the time you spend to do your job as executor, to support your executor’s fee.
3. List all the banks where the deceased had accounts or loans, including the account numbers. For each account, ask the bank for the balance as of the date of death, including any accrued but unposted interest. Collect any bank books or statements of account, and get the bank to update them to the date of death. Remember that accounts may include term deposits, GICs, Registered Retirement Savings Plans, and Registered Retirement Income Funds.
4. List all securities, stocks, or bonds owned by the deceased. If possible, ask the deceased’s broker for their market value at the date of death.
5. List all real estate which the deceased owned alone or with others. Provide the full addresses of all properties. Also list any mortgages or agreements for sale which the deceased owned. Provide the full addresses of all property. Give the latest tax assessment notices on property owned by the deceased, or have the property appraised as at the date of death.
Do this same step for any property owned by someone else, but on which the deceased held a mortgage and loaned money to the owner to buy the property. Also do this same step for property sold by the deceased under an agreement for sale where the purchaser still owes money to the deceased.
6. List any cheques or refunds owing to the deceased. This may include cheques that have not been received or deposited from pensions, deferred profit sharing plans, dividends, interest, salary, or any repayments or refunds due to the deceased. This also includes cheques or income owing from deferred profit sharing plans, dividends, and interest.
7. List any business assets or shares in a company owned by the deceased. Obtain appropriate valuations.
8. Identify all people and businesses who owed money to the deceased. Provide any details you can of the nature of the debt and the amount owing.
9. List any other assets, including cars, boats, household goods, jewellery, cameras, and other personal effects. Provide descriptions including serial numbers, if possible. Include estimated values.
10. List all outstanding debts and liabilities of the deceased.
11. List any agreements or court orders to which the deceased was a party, or under which the deceased was liable. This might include divorce orders, maintenance orders, marriage agreements, Family Law Act orders, guarantees, shareholders’ (buy-sell) agreements, partnership agreements, leases, employment contracts, and insurance owned by the deceased on the life of another.
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.