General Executor Checklist

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Executor Working on Task Checklist

Serving as the executor of an estate can be a challenging responsibility, and require significant effort over time: the average executor spends hundreds of hours fulling his or her duties, over a period of 3 - 12 months.

This page is part of the overall province-specific EstateExec Executor Guide, which is designed to help executors understand those duties and how to fulfill them, including probate.  In fact, EstateExec can automatically create a customized interactive checklist (see Sample Estate) in accordance with the particulars of the estate. For example, different provinces have different rules about creditor notification, family support, probate, and more.

At a simple level, though, the following generic checklist covers the basic responsibilities of an executor:

Estate Executor Checklist
Notify close friends & familyFirst Week
Notify employerFirst Week
Secure assetsFirst Week
Arrange funeralFirst Week
Locate the willFirst Week
Notify Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC)First Week
Order death certificatesFirst Week
Optionally retain lawyerFirst Month
Protect unoccupied propertyFirst Month
Cancel unneeded servicesFirst Month
Notify Service CanadaFirst Month
Notify Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)First Month
Request Trust Account Number (TAN)First Month
Inventory assetsFirst 3 Months
Determine heirsFirst 3 Months
Start probate process if required/desiredFirst 3 Months
Notify heirsFirst 3 Months
Establish family allowance if applicableFirst 3 Months
Forward mailFirst 3 Months
Notify life insurance companiesFirst 3 Months
Notify RRSPs and similar beneficiary accountsFirst 3 Months
Notify RCMP about firearmsFirst 3 Months
Notify credit cardsFirst 3 Months
Notify other agenciesFirst 3 Months
Notify extended acquaintancesFirst 3 Months
Consider online media accountsFirst 3 Months
Open estate bank accountFirst 3 Months
Publish notice of deathFirst 3 Months
Debt claims deadline expiredAs Possible
Inventory debtsAs Possible
Determine estate solvencyAs Possible
Plan asset allocationAs Possible
Conduct estate sale (if desired)As Possible
All debts resolvedAs Possible
Dispose of unwanted assetsAs Possible
Pay local property taxesCalendar Year
Submit final decedent income tax returns (T1)Calendar Year
Submit estate income tax forms (T3)Calendar Year
Obtain CRA tax clearance certificateFinish
Make all distributionsFinish
Compensate executorFinish
Pass accounts for probateFinish
Close estate bank accountFinish

Note that this generic checklist is useful, but is not intended to be an exhaustive list, and some of the due dates may vary a bit from province to province.

Note that if you are using the EstateExec interactive task checklist, you will be able to click on each task and get more information about it, as well as see actual due dates for your particular estate: see the Track Tasks topic, or create your own estate for free. Of course, the majority of EstateExec's long-term utility also lies in its ability to track and manage assets, debts, transactions, and distributions, not to mention money-saving ($) coupons for applicable third-party services, such as junk removal.

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