Our approach

Our clients can feel at ease knowing that their interests are looked after, even after passing away. We assist their executor, as well as their surviving spouse and family members, in navigating the complicated steps towards settling an estate. We understand that the first call is the hardest so we’ve created a complete executor process to reduce some of the anxiety an executor may have and ensure surviving family members are supported by our professional wealth management team.

Comprehensive checklist

Your first steps

  • Locate the will
  • Identify and confirm the executor
  • Make funeral arrangements
  • Review and interpret the will
  • Ensure the family’s immediate financial needs are met
  • Communicate with beneficiaries and provide them with a copy of the will, as applicable.
  • Obtain several original copies of the funeral directors statement of death or a death certificate from vital statistics


  • Consult a professional concerning the probate of the will
  • Supply required documents to court
  • Obtain court documentation attesting to the legal validity of the will and confirming you as legal executor
  • Pay probate taxes to provincial government as determined


Administer and distribute the estate

  • If required, return social insurance card, passport, driver’s license and health insurance cards, obtaining any applicable refunds.
  • Terminate the deceased’s lease or arrange to have premises sublet.
  • Cancel newspaper and magazine subscriptions; club memberships, phone/TV/Internet services.
  • Arrange for care or adoption of pets
  • Initiate sale of assets, transfer of titles, etc.
  • Invest income and/or surplus cash until estate is finalized.
  • Distribute specific bequests to beneficiaries and obtain receipts.

Prepare the final T1 tax return and applicable returns for international jurisdictions

  • File outstanding returns from previous years
  • Assist in establishing any trusts stipulated in the will
  • Prepare and file relevant Estate T3 trust income tax & information returns.
  • Apply for Final Clearance Certificate for Distribution Purposes from CRA once the Notice of Assessment is received, confirming all liabilities have been settled.
  • Begin distributing residual assets to beneficiaries according to the will, obtaining receipts from each beneficiary. Ensure sufficient funds are retained to pay outstanding debts and taxes.
  • Prepare a final beneficiaries report of all assets, liabilities, expenses and final distribution of assets.
  • Have each adult beneficiary approve this report and sign a release
  • Advise financial institutions in writing to close the estate account once the estate is settled

Contact us to receive a printable copy of this checklist.


Protect the estate

  • Ensure adequate insurance is in place to protect estate assets
  • Re-route mail
  • Notify your financial professionals where deceased held account
  • Open an estate account at any bank to deposit income and pay expenses, transferring any balances in accounts held exclusively in deceased’s name
  • Prepare a listing of safe deposit box contents
  • Arrange for safekeeping of valuables
  • Obtain the contents of the safe deposit box after providing required estate documentation; return keys and close safety deposit box
  • Advertise for creditors.


Assemble and inventory assets and liabilities

  • Begin claims on life insurance policies including group insurance or other plans
  • Contact deceased’s bank or credit union to gather information on account balances, loans outstanding and investments held
  • Contact the deceased’s employer to verify any income owing and to determine benefits which the spouse/family may be entitled
  • Contact Canada Revenue Agency to cancel GST/PST quarterly credits
  • Communicate with beneficiaries and provide them with a copy of the will, as applicable.
  • Assist family with application for benefits
  • If the deceased was a veteran or member of the Canadian Forces personnel, contact Veteran’s Affairs Canada to determine benefits available.
  • Locate all original investment certificates, stocks, bonds, property deeds, etc.
  • Prepare a detailed list of all assets and liabilities.
  • Obtain a copy of the last tax return filed by the deceased
  • Document the value of each asset (current market value and original purchase price) for taxation (capital gains) purpose.
  • Contact Service Canada to cancel Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security Pension benefits
  • Contact CRA regarding Child Allowance and Child Tax benefits received by deceased
  • Establish eligibility of spouse/guardian or children for survivor or continuing benefits from each agency
  • Investigate and pay all debts owed by the deceased
  • If loans are insured, complete appropriate insurance forms.
  • Cancel all credit card accounts and return cards to issuers
  • Cancel social network accounts.
  • In accordance with terms of the will and wishes of beneficiaries, identify which assets will be sold, transferred in kind, or have titles transferred.
  • Prepare a beneficiaries report of all assets, liabilities and expenses.