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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Why do estates take so long?

This is a pretty common question among beneficiaries. It's true that estates do take a while to wrap up, and most beneficiaries don't like waiting. There are a number of deadlines and limits that executors must follow during the course of an estate, most of which are unknown to the beneficiaries. Some of them are:

- by law, an executor can't file probate documents until a certain minimum amount of time has passed since the deceased died. In Alberta, that's 7 days.

- if the Will has a survivorship clause (e.g. "Give $5,000 to my sister if she survives me by 30 days"), the executor has to wait until that period is over before filing any probate documents at the court. The usual amount of time is 30 days.

- if the deceased had guaranteed deposits or GICs with a maturity date, the executor will probably have to wait until that maturity date to cash the deposit, otherwise he or she might lose some of the interest that is accruing.

- if the deceased had a spouse or common-law spouse and did not leave him/her the entire estate, the executor has to wait until the amount of time prescribed by law passes. This waiting time is the period in which a spouse can contest the estate to get a greater share. In Alberta, that waiting period is 6 months from the day the probate is granted.

- it can take more than 6 months to obtain a clearance certificate from Canada Revenue Agency.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Lynne,
    What can be done if an executor refuses to say if they have a clearance certificate or not as they are using it as an excuse not to distribute assets?
    Only an executor can check status via CRA but it's been over 8 months already and I a wondering how I'll know when she receives it if she is unwilling to say?


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