General Estate Settlement TasksShow Table of Contents
Once you've completed the initial Timeline tasks, you are ready to execute the main phase of the estate disposition process.
Inventory Closure (Quebec Only)
In Quebec, once the inventory of succession assets is complete, the liquidator must publish a notice of closure of inventory in a newspaper circulated in the locality of the deceased's legal residence, as well as notify anyone designated to inherit in the will, any heir who would inherit if there were no will, and any known creditors, informing them where the inventory may be reviewed (often at the decedent's home).
You must also register this notice within 6 months of the death with Le Registre des Droits Personnels et Réels Mobiliers (RDPRM), using a General Application for Registration (Form RG). And if the will contains stipulations of exemption from seizure (to protect succession property from being seized by an heir's creditors to satisfy the heir's existing debts), the liquidator must also register this protection with the RDPRM for it to become enforceable.
Once the claims deadline from your notice of death expires (if applicable, see Finding_Debts), you will have a complete picture of all debts the estate is legally obligated to pay, and you can move forward with assurance.
If it's clear that the estate has a positive net worth (has more assets than debts), then you should pay off any estate debts. If it is unclear whether or not the estate owes more than it is worth, or even if it is, you may want to negotiate with creditors to see who may be willing to forgive all or some of the amount owed. See Resolving Debts.
Finalize Asset Disposition Plan
Plan what you are going to do with every estate asset. Some items (cash or assets) may be explicitly called out in the will for specific disposition. You may need to sell some assets to raise cash to pay off debts. Some heirs may want their share of the estate to include particular assets. You need to finalize a plan that satisfies your legal obligations and preferably, maximizes heir happiness. In the end your goal is to distribute the entire net estate to the heirs in accordance with the terms of the will. See Making Distributions.
Sell or Dispose of Unwanted Assets
Sell assets you do not plan to directly distribute to heirs, and dispose of assets that are unwanted by heirs and have no saleable value. See Managing Assets for more information, including advice on estate sales, as well as EstateExec discounts on related third-party services.
CRA Clearance Certificate
While not required, it is best practice to apply for a tax clearance certificate from the CRA after you have filed all final tax returns and paid any taxes owed (including those from any notice of assessments).
Such a certificate allows an executor to distribute estate assets without any personal liability for amounts the deceased or the estate might owe the CRA. The CRA will send an acknowledgement letter within 30 days of receiving your request, and if everything is in order, will issue you a clearance certificate within 120 days (although if the CRA decides to audit, it will take longer).
Regardless of any CRA interactions, if you are dealing with a Quebec resident, you must apply for an authorization certificate from Revenu Quebec before making most distributions. You can use Form MR-14.A-V to apply for this certificate.
Next see Final Tasks.