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Home  ->  Financial Planning  ->  Wills and Estates -> What to do when someone dies

What To Do When Someone Dies

When a person dies, there are many tasks to be performed.

Government of Canada Dealing With Death

The Government of Canada web site provides a great deal of help in dealing with the many tasks to be handled in the event of a death.  Go to What to do when someone has died.

Registration of Estate With CRA as Employer

When executor, liquidator, or administrator fees are being paid out of an estate, the estate must register as an employer with Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).  This is the responsibility of the executor.  All applicable income tax and Canada Pension Plan contributions (not EI premiums) must be withheld from the payment.  This only applies if the executor, liquidator, or administrator does not act in this capacity in the regular course of business.

Executor Responsibilities

You should familiarize yourself with the responsibilities of the executor of an estate before accepting this position, or before dealing with any estate assets.

Norton Rose Fulbright provides information on this in their article The role of an executor in administering an estate.  These responsibilities may vary by province.

Deemed Disposal of Assets on Death

When an individual dies, they have a deemed disposal of all of their capital property immediately before death, for proceeds equal to fair market value at the time of death.  Resulting capital gains, net of capital losses, would be reported on the final tax return for the year of death.  Special tax rules apply for capital losses in excess of capital gains for the year of death.

Digital Assets Owned at Time of Death

If the deceased had

bulletonline accounts such as PayPal, Facebook, Google and Apple,
bulletowns cryptocurrency (BitCoin),
bullethas licences or licence accounts (Amazon Kindle library, Apple iTunes, etc.) - did you know the items you purchase are not owned by the purchaser?
bulletcloud based accounts (PayPal balances, cryptocurrency wallets, etc.)

then hopefully they planned ahead, and have the information for these accounts/assets in a safe place and have let their executor know where to find the information.

See Digital Estate Planning on the All About Estates website, written by  Dave Madan, Market Lead and Manager, Scotiatrust.

Canada Revenue Agency Wills and Estates Resources

What to do when someone has died

How to manage the taxes of someone who has died

T4011 Preparing Returns for Deceased Persons

T4013 T3 - Trust Guide

Special Payments Chart - what types of payments are subject to CPP, EI and income tax withholdings.  However, executors and administrators of estates are not on this list, so see:

Calculating deductions - elected or appointed officials

Estate and Will Information by Province

It is advisable to have your will reviewed occasionally by a notary or lawyer, in particular if the legislation in your province regarding wills has been revised in recent years.  A review can help to ensure that your wishes will still be upheld under the latest legislation.

Alberta Estates and Wills

Death  - What to do when someone dies in Alberta, including wills and estates, ordering death certificates and other documents.

Wills in Alberta includes link to Wills and Succession Act- Alberta Justice

bulletnew Wills and Succession Act came into effect February 1, 2012
bulletgetting married no longer revokes a will
bulletgetting divorced or ending a relationship will revoke gifts to ex-partner

British Columbia Estates and Wills

BC Death and Bereavement - Death Registration/Certificates, Wills Registry, Wills & Estates

BC Public Guardian and Trustee Estate Administration

Your Duties as Executor - Canadian Bar Association BC Branch

Insurance Corporation of BC (ICBC) Checklist for Estate Transfers (pdf) of vehicles - Joint ownership with right of survivorship (JWROS) provides the simplest method for transferring the vehicle after death, and reduces probate fees.

Wills, Estates and Succession Act - came into force March 31, 2014

bulletreplaces 7 other acts
bulletfaster and easier to administer small estates (less than $50,000)
bulletnew legislation will not invalidate wills made before it comes into force, but will apply to the interpretation of existing wills
bulletexisting wills should be reviewed to ensure your wishes will be upheld
bulletgetting married no longer revokes a will
bulletthe revocation of gifts to an ex-spouse as the result of a divorce is extended to persons in marriage-like relationships of at least 2 years duration, so that if the marriage-like relationship breaks down, the gift in the will is revoked

Wills, Estates and Succession Act - Courthouse Libraries BC.

Manitoba Estates and Wills

Family Law in Manitoba - see their Public Information Booklet

Court of King's Bench Probate Division - Frequently asked questions

The Wills Act - in effect since June 30, 2004

bulletgetting married revokes a will, except in certain circumstances

New Brunswick Estates and Wills

Wills and Estate Planning, including Probate of the Will

Newfoundland and Labrador Estates and Wills

Supreme Court:

Civil Rules, Practice Notes and Forms - Probate and Administration of Estates

Wills and Estates - Public Legal Information Association of NL

Northwest Territories Estates and Wills

Dealing With Death

Nova Scotia Estates and Wills

What to do when someone dies

Ontario Estates and Wills

What to do when someone dies

Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee

Apply for probate of an estate in Ontario

Succession Law Reform Act

bulletGetting married revokes a will, except in certain circumstances

Prince Edward Island Estates and Wills

Birth, Marriage and Death Certificates

Quebec Estates and Wills

Liquidators of a succession - steps to follow after a death



What needs to be done if a close relative or friend dies

Saskatchewan Estates and Wills

Dealing With Death

Court of King's Bench - Wills and estates

Wills and estates - Public Legal Education of Saskatchewan (PLEA)

Wills Act, 1996

bulletA will is revoked when the testator marries, or has cohabited in a spousal relationship continuously for 2 years

Yukon Estates and Wills

Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee - Publications

See also:  Probate Fees by Province

Tax Tip:  Keep your will up to date, and ensure it complies with current legislation.

Revised: May 29, 2024



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