Executors – A Checklist of Immediate Duties

  • Locate the last Will and confirm appointment as executor.
  • Determine whether there are any special funeral directions.
  • Ascertain whereabouts of beneficiaries.
  • Determine immediate cash requirements of beneficiaries.
  • Search for cash, insurance policies, securities, jewellery, and other valuables, and arrange for their safekeeping.
  • Cancel credit cards, memberships, health insurance, cable and subscriptions and request refunds if available.
  • Lock up the deceased’s residence if it is not occupied. Advise the police if it is not under proper supervision.
  • Arrange for an immediate inventory of all personal assets.
  • Check the insurance on the deceased’s assets (e.g., house, furniture, motor vehicle). Check the expiry dates and check the vacancy provisions to ensure that the coverage continues (a 30 day vacancy limit applies in most policies insuring residential property). Notify the insurers of the death.
  • Arrange for interim management of the deceased’s business.
  • Collect and deposit any outstanding cheques (e.g., pensions, dividends, interest, salary).
  • Redirect mail if necessary.
  • Check for mortgages (and determine if they are life-insured) and agreements for sale and make the payments to keep them up to date.
  • Check leases and tenancies. Give tenants notice about where to send rent payments and give notice of termination if necessary.
  • Review the last cheques written by the deceased to ensure that there were no irregularities.
  • Apply for Canada Pension Plan Death Benefits, Survivor’s Benefits and Orphan Benefits, if eligible.

These suggestions apply to many estates but they may not all apply to the estate that you are administering. There may be other assets that require protection and that aren’t dealt with above. Please contact our office if you have any questions.


Dear Lianne,

Thank you so much for your professional and compassionate advice and service in working with us on my mother’s estate. You responded very promptly to our plea for help and especially in difficult times such as ours, it was both comfortable and refreshing to have someone look after important succession details.

You definitely provide “Trusted Advice, Outstanding Service”. It is always a pleasure to work with you and to recommend you to others.