The loss of a loved one can require a great deal from a family member who is grieving, particularly if the family member is also the executor of the deceased’s estate. The responsibilities of an executor are many and demanding. Aside from possibly being responsible for making funeral arrangements, the executor is also responsible for the financial distribution and winding down of the deceased’s financial accounts and their estate, overall.
Accounts and Responsibilities
The types of accounts an executor may be responsible for monitoring and closing include:
- Any account that is solely held by the deceased
- Checking accounts
- Savings accounts
- Debit accounts
- Credit cards
- Investment accounts
The first thing the executor should do is contact the banking institutions of each of these accounts. Notice will need to be given and corresponding proof provided, evidencing the death of the holder of the accounts. Once this is done, the various banking institutions will take charge of stopping automatic payments and protecting the remaining assets of the deceased.
One of the most difficult issues to contend with is incoming funds that are received after the deceased has passed away. Oftentimes, there are cheques which continue to arrive from various sources including;
- Retirement accounts
- Government assistance
- Investment dividends
- Miscellaneous sources of income/assistance
Handling Incoming Cheques
There are many questions associated with handling incoming funds in the form of cheques.
- Should the cheques be endorsed?
- Who should endorse the cheques?
- Will the bank accept a cheque endorsed by the executor?
- Can an executor cash the cheques to pay expenses associated with the death?
First, it is important to note that the only person who has the right to financially act or make financial decisions in accordance with the directives in the will, on behalf of the deceased, is the executor of the estate. But even the executor faces some limitations. For example, an executor cannot deposit cheques made out to the deceased, or the estate of the deceased, into their own personal financial accounts. It is necessary for the cheques to be deposited into a particular account known as an “estate of the late” account.
When it comes to what to do with cheques made out to the deceased, the executor has the following options:
- Open an “estate of the late” account with the deceased’s banking institution
- An “estate of the late” account will allow the executor to make deposits into the account and withdrawals from the account for the needs related to the finances of distributing and closing the value of the estate
- If a cheque is made out to the deceased, or the estate of the deceased, it can be deposited into this account to allow for later distribution in accordance with the directives in the will
Once the account is set up, the executor can then proceed to endorse cheques, deposit funds and withdraw funds from the “estate of the late” account in accordance with the directives in the last will and testament of the deceased. This provides the executor and the banking institution with the proper avenue to ensure that all incoming funds and outgoing costs and distributions are traceable and proper.
In the event that you find yourself in need of assistance, please contact the law offices of Owen Hodge Lawyers. At Owen Hodge, we are always happy to assist clients in understanding the full ramifications of any and all of your legal needs. Please feel free to call us at your earliest convenience to schedule a consultation at 1800 770 780.