Glossary for Being an Executor

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This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by Stephen Hsia in January 2019.
A person appointed by the court to deal with an estate where the executor is unable or unwilling to act, or there is no valid will.
Anything a person owns that has value. Assets can include things such as money, land, investments, and personal belongings such as jewelry, furniture, and investments.
A person who is to receive money or property in a will, benefit plan, or insurance policy.
Money that a person owes. For example, a credit card balance, a car loan, or a mortgage.
All of the property and belongings a person owns upon their death, with some exceptions. The estate does not include property owned with someone else jointly (such as a joint bank account) or property that has a designated beneficiary (such as an insurance policy).
The person named in a will to carry out the instructions in the will and settle the will-maker’s affairs after they die.
Grant of probate
A document issued by the court in a probate application certifying that the will submitted by the executor is legally valid and can be acted on.
To interfere in the affairs of others. In the context of an estate, to deal with the assets or liabilities of the deceased.
Joint tenancy
A way that property can be owned where each owner has the same interest in and an equal right to use the property. Usually, when one joint tenant dies, their share automatically passes to the other joint tenants.
A legal procedure to confirm that a will is valid and can be acted on. It allows financial institutions and others to rely on the will as being the last will made by the deceased.
Public Guardian and Trustee
A public body established by law to protect the interests of British Columbians who lack legal capacity to protect their own interests.
To decline an appointment as executor.
Whatever is left over in an estate after the executor pays all the debts and expenses and distributes any specific gifts.
A form of possession of property in which a person (the trustee) holds property for the benefit of another person (the beneficiary).
A legal document that gives instructions about who should receive the property of the will-maker after they die, and on what conditions.
A person who prepares and signs a will.