Difference between revisions of "Next Steps to Take After the Death"

From Clicklaw Wikibooks
m (Locating the will)
 
(48 intermediate revisions by 3 users not shown)
Line 1: Line 1:
{{A Death in Your Family TOC}}Legally, only the executor appointed under the will or administrator appointed by the court has the right to deal with the assets and property of the person who has died. An executor must get a grant of probate of the will from the court to confirm his or her authority.  
+
{{REVIEWEDPLS | reviewer = [[Helen Low|Helen Low, QC]] and [[Nicco Bautista]]|date= January 2017}}{{A Death in Your Family TOC}}
 +
When a loved one dies, there are several things to take care of in addition to [[Making the Funeral Arrangements|making the funeral arrangements]]. Other matters to look after include safeguarding the property the deceased left behind, notifying organizations of the death, and inquiring about survivor benefits.
  
If your family member died without a will, a person seeking to be appointed as administrator must apply to the court for a grant of administration before he or she has the authority to deal with the assets.
+
==Dealing with the property left behind==
 +
If the deceased left a will, the '''executor''' named in the will is responsible for settling the estate of the deceased. Settling the estate involves locating the property owned by the deceased, paying any debts, the funeral costs and taxes, and then distributing the estate according to the instructions in the will.  
  
If you are the executor or the person seeking to be the administrator, excellent information is available about what you need to do:
+
If the loved one died without a will, a person must apply to court for permission to settle the estate.
*People’s Law School booklets "[http://www.clicklaw.bc.ca/resource/1022 Being an Executor]", "[http://www.clicklaw.bc.ca/resource/1019 Power of Attorney]", and "[http://www.clicklaw.bc.ca/resource/1020 Writing Your Will]".
 
*Nidus Personal Planning Resource Centre and Registry website at [http://www.nidus.ca www.nidus.ca].
 
*Self-Counsel Press publication ''[http://www.self-counsel.com/default/bc-probate-kit.html British Columbia Probate Kit]''.
 
  
''If you cannot find the person's will'', you can check with his or her notary public or lawyer. You can also do a wills search through Vital Statistics or your local government agent. Fee for service applies and is subject to change.
+
The People’s Law School publication ''[[Being an Executor]]'' covers the steps involved in British Columbia in dealing with an estate after a person dies.
  
You need the following information to perform a wills search:
+
===Locating the will===
*date and place of death,
+
Locating the will, if the deceased left one, clarifies who has been named executor. The will may also have instructions about the deceased’s wishes for organ donation, burial or cremation, and their funeral service.
*place and date of birth,
 
*full legal name and all alias names, and  
 
*occupation, if not retired.
 
  
If an executor is not involved or if you are the executor, you may want to secure the assets. Make sure the following valuables are safe:
+
The will may be in the deceased’s home, in a safety deposit box, or at the office of the lawyer or notary public who drafted the will.
*will or copies of the will,
 
*wallet, purse or briefcase,
 
*social insurance card, medical card, driver’s licence, etc.,
 
*credit cards, bank statements,
 
*utilities statements,
 
*life or property insurance policies, and
 
*income tax papers.
 
  
''You also may need to do the following:'' Make sure the deceased’s motor vehicle is locked in a safe place. Retain the keys and any valuable contents to hand over the executor. Retain <span class="noglossary">access</span> to the deceased’s <span class="noglossary">residence</span> to take care of pets, make sure appliances are off.  
+
To check on the location of the will, you can [https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/life-events/death/wills-registry search the Wills Registry] maintained by the Vital Statistics Agency. If the deceased filed a notice of their will with the Registry, the search will indicate the location of the original will.
  
Usually the executor or administrator <span class="noglossary">will</span> send a change of address to Canada Post so that the deceased’s mail goes to the executor’s address while he or she is dealing with the person’s estate. It is the responsibility of the executor or administrator to notify institutions and cancel credit cards, club memberships, magazine subscriptions, etc.
+
===Safeguarding the deceased’s property===
 +
The executor named in the will is responsible for protecting the '''assets''' until the estate is ready to be distributed. If an executor is not involved, those close to the deceased can help protect the assets.
  
''Note'': This booklet is not intended to explain the process for obtaining a grant of probate or an appointment of an administrator or the process for the distribution of the deceased’s assets.
+
For example:
 +
* If the deceased’s home is not occupied, make sure the home is secured, appliances turned off, and any pets are looked after. If the home is to remain vacant, tell the police.
 +
* Make sure any vehicle owned by the deceased is locked in a safe place.
 +
* Safeguard any wallet, purse or briefcase owned by the deceased.
 +
* Secure the deceased’s key pieces of identification, such as their social insurance card, medical card, driver’s licence, and passport.
  
==What do I need to know about benefits for survivors?==
+
===Property that passes directly on death===
The following is a general overview about benefits for survivors. Many of the tasks involved <span class="noglossary">will</span> be completed by the executor or administrator.
+
Not all things owned by the deceased form part of the estate. Certain types of assets "pass outside the will".
  
'''If you had a joint account with right of survivorship''', you can withdraw the whole amount from the <span class="noglossary">account</span> at any time. If you encounter difficulties, speak to the bank manager. Once you have the death certificate, you can have the <span class="noglossary">account</span> transferred to your name alone.
+
For example, property owned jointly by the deceased and someone else automatically becomes the exclusive property of the other joint owner. If you had a joint bank account with the deceased, you can withdraw the whole amount from the account at any time. If you encounter difficulties, speak to the bank manager. Once you have the death certificate, you can have the account transferred to your name alone.
  
'''If the accounts were in the deceased’s name alone''', notify the bank. Banks may <span class="noglossary">release</span> small amounts of money to the survivor before the estate is settled, but they are not required to do so. They <span class="noglossary">will</span> pay funeral expenses directly if presented with the <span class="noglossary">bill</span>. They <span class="noglossary">will</span> not reimburse a person who has paid the funeral home directly until the estate is settled.
+
{{PLSTipsbox
 
+
| text = If the deceased had a bank account in their name alone, notify the bank. Banks may release small amounts of money to a surviving spouse before the estate is settled, but they are not required to do so. They will typically pay funeral expenses directly if presented with the bill.  
'''Money left to the designated beneficiary in insurance policies, pension funds, and RRSPs''' passes outside the will. If you are the designated beneficiary, <span class="noglossary">contact</span> the relevant institutions to learn what documents they need.
+
}}
 
 
'''If your <span class="noglossary">spouse</span> was receiving a government or private pension''', you may be entitled to a portion of the pension as the surviving <span class="noglossary">spouse</span>. Check with each agency.
 
 
 
Was your deceased family member a veteran, member of a union, or receiving a pension from another country? If so, there may be pension benefits for survivors. For pensions, the estate or the survivor is entitled to keep the cheques issued in the month of your deceased family member’s death.
 
  
''Note'': This applies to you if you are a dependent child of a <span class="noglossary">parent</span> who has died.
+
==Who to notify of the death==
 +
You should contact organizations and government departments to notify them of the death or cancel services. For example:
 +
* notify financial institutions where the deceased held accounts
 +
* cancel any credit cards
 +
* cancel any subscriptions or club memberships
 +
* cancel any [https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/publicpensions/cpp/cancel-cpp.html Old Age Security or Canada Pension Plan benefits] received by the deceased
 +
* cancel the deceased’s passport and [http://www.icbc.com/driver-licensing/getting-licensed/Pages/cancel-retire-licence.aspx driver’s licence]
  
'''The death benefit is payable to the estate or survivor''' if the family member paid into the Canada Pension Plan (CPP).  
+
Usually the executor or administrator of the estate will also send a [https://www.canadapost.ca/web/en/products/details.page?article=forward_your_mail_wh&ecid=display%7Cddn%7Cml%7C225 change of address to Canada Post] so that mail intended for the deceased goes to a safe location while they are dealing with the deceased’s estate.
  
CPP survivor benefits may be payable if the deceased  is your <span class="noglossary">spouse</span> and you are under 60 or if you are a surviving child under 18 years of age or between the ages of 18 and 25 if attending school full-time.  
+
==Survivor’s pensions and benefits==
 +
[[File:A_Death_in_Your_Family_contents4.png|thumb|275px|right| link=| <span style="font-size:50%;">Image via www.istockphoto.com</span>]]
 +
If the deceased contributed to a government or private pension, their spouse and dependents may be entitled to a survivor’s pension or a death benefit. For example:
 +
* '''Canada Pension Plan (CPP) survivor’s pension:''' If the deceased contributed to the CPP, a [https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/publicpensions/cpp/cpp-survivor-pension.html survivor’s pension] is paid to their surviving spouse or common-law partner. The survivor is responsible for applying for their monthly pension.
 +
* '''CPP children’s benefits:''' If the deceased made sufficient contributions to the CPP, a [https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/publicpensions/cpp/cpp-childrens-benefit.html children’s benefit] is paid to any surviving child under age 18 or between ages 18 and 25 if in full-time attendance at school. The child or their parent or guardian are responsible for applying for this monthly benefit.
 +
* '''CPP death benefit:''' The [https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/publicpensions/cpp/cpp-death-benefit.html CPP death benefit] is a one-time, lump-sum payment paid to the estate or a survivor of a deceased CPP contributor. If an executor or administrator is involved, they should apply for the death benefit on behalf of the estate.  
  
'''If the deceased was still employed''', benefits may be available. Death benefits payable by labour unions vary. They may be payable to the next-of-kin or the estate. The union office <span class="noglossary">will</span> have the information.
+
With public and private pensions, the estate or the survivor is entitled to keep any cheques issued in the month the deceased passed away.  
  
'''If the death was work-related''', benefits may be available as workers’ compensation through [http://www.worksafebc.com WorkSafeBC].
+
If the death was the result of a work incident, a car accident, or a crime, benefits may be available to assist the survivors:
  
'''If the death was due to a car accident''', benefits are available from [http://www.icbc.com ICBC]. Also, the deceased’s family members may bring a legal action for compensation if the accident were the fault of another.  
+
* '''Workers’ compensation benefits:''' If the death was the result of a work incident, benefits may be available as workers’ compensation through [https://www.worksafebc.com/en WorkSafeBC].
 +
* '''ICBC benefits:''' If the death was due to a car accident, benefits are available from [http://www.icbc.com ICBC]. Regardless of who was responsible for the accident, certain funeral expenses and survivor benefits are payable.
 +
* '''Victims of crime assistance:''' If the death was a result of a crime, assistance may be available to survivors from the [http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/justice/criminal-justice/bcs-criminal-justice-system/if-you-are-a-victim-of-a-crime/victim-of-crime/financial-assistance-benefits Crime Victim Assistance Program]. Call 1-866-660-3888 or contact cvap@gov.bc.ca.
  
'''If the death was a result of a crime''', assistance and benefits may be available to survivors from the [http://www.clicklaw.bc.ca/resource/1300 Crime Victim Assistance Program].
+
==Seeking bereavement support==
 +
Grieving is an important process that requires more time than people often acknowledge or allow. Support during time of bereavement can help bring healing, renewal, and hope for the future.
  
==What do I need to know about re-arranging my own legal affairs?==
+
Family and friends can be a great source of comfort. Expressing your feelings with them can help you in the grieving process.  
In time, you may wish to change your will if the death of your deceased family member means your old will is out of date.  
 
  
It may be appropriate to <span class="noglossary">review</span> your arrangements for future planning, and consider such tools as a power of attorney, enduring power of attorney, advance directive, or representation agreement. See Clicklaw for further information, under the common questions "[http://www.clicklaw.bc.ca/question/commonquestion/1004 When might I need a power of attorney?]" and "[http://www.clicklaw.bc.ca/question/commonquestion/1005 Should I have an enduring power of attorney or a representation agreement?]."
+
The [http://www.bcbereavementhelpline.com BC Bereavement Helpline] is a free and confidential service that helps people in BC cope with grief. See the “[[Where to Get Help for A Death in Your Family|Where to Get Help]]” section for contact information.
  
If you have lost your partner, you may need financial advice or help with reorganizing your banking arrangements. Talk to your bank or credit union.  
+
==Updating your own legal affairs==
 +
If you have lost your partner, you may need financial advice or help reorganizing your banking arrangements.  
  
{{REVIEWED | reviewer = [[People's Law School]], 2012}}
+
In time, you may wish to review your own will and any other personal planning arrangements such as a power of attorney, advance directive, or representation agreement. See the People’s Law School publication ''[[Power of Attorney]]'' as well as the website [http://www.clicklaw.bc.ca/ Clicklaw].
  
 
{{A Death in Your Family Navbox}}
 
{{A Death in Your Family Navbox}}
Line 73: Line 77:
 
|author =  
 
|author =  
 
}}
 
}}
 +
__NOGLOSSARY__

Latest revision as of 12:29, 13 December 2019

This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by Helen Low, QC and Nicco Bautista in January 2017.

When a loved one dies, there are several things to take care of in addition to making the funeral arrangements. Other matters to look after include safeguarding the property the deceased left behind, notifying organizations of the death, and inquiring about survivor benefits.

Dealing with the property left behind

If the deceased left a will, the executor named in the will is responsible for settling the estate of the deceased. Settling the estate involves locating the property owned by the deceased, paying any debts, the funeral costs and taxes, and then distributing the estate according to the instructions in the will.

If the loved one died without a will, a person must apply to court for permission to settle the estate.

The People’s Law School publication Being an Executor covers the steps involved in British Columbia in dealing with an estate after a person dies.

Locating the will

Locating the will, if the deceased left one, clarifies who has been named executor. The will may also have instructions about the deceased’s wishes for organ donation, burial or cremation, and their funeral service.

The will may be in the deceased’s home, in a safety deposit box, or at the office of the lawyer or notary public who drafted the will.

To check on the location of the will, you can search the Wills Registry maintained by the Vital Statistics Agency. If the deceased filed a notice of their will with the Registry, the search will indicate the location of the original will.

Safeguarding the deceased’s property

The executor named in the will is responsible for protecting the assets until the estate is ready to be distributed. If an executor is not involved, those close to the deceased can help protect the assets.

For example:

  • If the deceased’s home is not occupied, make sure the home is secured, appliances turned off, and any pets are looked after. If the home is to remain vacant, tell the police.
  • Make sure any vehicle owned by the deceased is locked in a safe place.
  • Safeguard any wallet, purse or briefcase owned by the deceased.
  • Secure the deceased’s key pieces of identification, such as their social insurance card, medical card, driver’s licence, and passport.

Property that passes directly on death

Not all things owned by the deceased form part of the estate. Certain types of assets "pass outside the will".

For example, property owned jointly by the deceased and someone else automatically becomes the exclusive property of the other joint owner. If you had a joint bank account with the deceased, you can withdraw the whole amount from the account at any time. If you encounter difficulties, speak to the bank manager. Once you have the death certificate, you can have the account transferred to your name alone.

Who to notify of the death

You should contact organizations and government departments to notify them of the death or cancel services. For example:

Usually the executor or administrator of the estate will also send a change of address to Canada Post so that mail intended for the deceased goes to a safe location while they are dealing with the deceased’s estate.

Survivor’s pensions and benefits

Image via www.istockphoto.com

If the deceased contributed to a government or private pension, their spouse and dependents may be entitled to a survivor’s pension or a death benefit. For example:

  • Canada Pension Plan (CPP) survivor’s pension: If the deceased contributed to the CPP, a survivor’s pension is paid to their surviving spouse or common-law partner. The survivor is responsible for applying for their monthly pension.
  • CPP children’s benefits: If the deceased made sufficient contributions to the CPP, a children’s benefit is paid to any surviving child under age 18 or between ages 18 and 25 if in full-time attendance at school. The child or their parent or guardian are responsible for applying for this monthly benefit.
  • CPP death benefit: The CPP death benefit is a one-time, lump-sum payment paid to the estate or a survivor of a deceased CPP contributor. If an executor or administrator is involved, they should apply for the death benefit on behalf of the estate.

With public and private pensions, the estate or the survivor is entitled to keep any cheques issued in the month the deceased passed away.

If the death was the result of a work incident, a car accident, or a crime, benefits may be available to assist the survivors:

  • Workers’ compensation benefits: If the death was the result of a work incident, benefits may be available as workers’ compensation through WorkSafeBC.
  • ICBC benefits: If the death was due to a car accident, benefits are available from ICBC. Regardless of who was responsible for the accident, certain funeral expenses and survivor benefits are payable.
  • Victims of crime assistance: If the death was a result of a crime, assistance may be available to survivors from the Crime Victim Assistance Program. Call 1-866-660-3888 or contact cvap@gov.bc.ca.

Seeking bereavement support

Grieving is an important process that requires more time than people often acknowledge or allow. Support during time of bereavement can help bring healing, renewal, and hope for the future.

Family and friends can be a great source of comfort. Expressing your feelings with them can help you in the grieving process.

The BC Bereavement Helpline is a free and confidential service that helps people in BC cope with grief. See the “Where to Get Help” section for contact information.

Updating your own legal affairs

If you have lost your partner, you may need financial advice or help reorganizing your banking arrangements.

In time, you may wish to review your own will and any other personal planning arrangements such as a power of attorney, advance directive, or representation agreement. See the People’s Law School publication Power of Attorney as well as the website Clicklaw.


Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence A Death in Your Family © People's Law School is, except for the images, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence.
Personal tools
Namespaces

Variants
Actions
Site
Tools
Contributors
Print/export