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Friday, December 11, 2020

When will the bank require action on an estate account that has been open for 7 years?

In this question from a reader, I'm reminding everyone about who is actually in charge of an estate.

"TD bank estate account has not been closed and balance on the account has been in the estate account for seven years. When will the bank require some action on the account?"

The reason I chose this question to look at more closely is that it demonstrates that there is some confusion about who is in charge of an estate. When an executor is getting information and directives from a lawyer, an accountant, a banker, and perhaps others, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that all of those people are supposed to be taking direction FROM the executor. While each professional will advise the executor about the legalities and the processes of various steps, it's up to the executor to make decisions and carry out the estate.

In answering this question, I had to make some assumptions, as usual. For instance, I assume that the bank itself is not the executor.

It's not up to the bank to require any action on the estate account. Why would it be? They are happy to let a sum of money sit in that account as it would sit in any other account. It's not up to the bank to decide what to do with the money, unless the bank itself is the executor. It's the executor's job to carry out the estate, to use the estate account to pay legitimate estate bills, and then to distribute the rest of the money to the beneficiaries. While the funds sit in an account, the estate is still open and it's up to the executor to file the annual tax returns for the estate.

If for any reason these funds do not make it to the intended beneficiaries or if it takes way too long, the executor is the one who is liable, not the bank.

I'm very surprised that the beneficiaries of the estate have not raised some sort of fuss over waiting seven years to receive an inheritance. They are unusually patient.

If you want action on this bank account, light a fire under the executor.


  1. Lynne,

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    Re my Estate Matter, it has been 15 years. The bank account has little left as the lawyers have taken it all. We have been going around in circles for 15 years. The lawyers have done everything to make me give up, but with little success. The cost is much more then just monetary. The stress has been enormous. Your post today will make people aware that the Executor is in control of the Estate via a Will or perhaps Court intervention. By being in control, that means that the Executor does everything according to Estate Laws Rules and Regulations. There are some Executors and Beneficiaries who have their 'own ideas' as to how things should be done. In addition, I would also add 'Judges' to your post? TBC.


  2. Thank you so much for this blog.

    My mother is in BC. She is both the sole beneficiary and the executrix of my father's estate.

    She set up an estate account in his name at the credit union. The credit union is refusing to deposit cheques that are written in my dad's name. They want the cheques written "to the estate of ________." Some cheque issuers are refusing to re-issue the cheques to his estate.

    I believe that the credit union should be accepting cheques sent in my Dad's name. Can you point me to the applicable BC litigation about estate accounts so my mom can write a letter to the credit union?



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