Death in the Family

Q.1. What do I do when someone dies?

This is a difficult and stressful time. Nevertheless, there are things that must be done. These include the involvement of a physician or coroner for the necessary certification of the death. Funeral arrangements will also have to be completed.

Q.2. What do I need to do immediately after the death of a family member?

This is a difficult time but if you do certain things it will make managing this situation easier. Find all key documents such as wills and life insurance policies. Determine what unpaid bills exist and decide how to pay them. Cancel any payments or commitments the deceased person can no longer claim.

Q.3. What do I do in the months following the death of a family member?

When a family member dies, you must consult the executor or estate trustee as they will help direct you. You should also determine the amount of the deceased’s money you will have to manage. Make certain that you pay all outstanding bills as this could affect your credit rating. Apply for all appropriate benefits such as any pension money, unpaid salary, unused vacation or sick time, and life insurance. You will also have to file a final tax return for the deceased person.

Q.4. Should I review my estate plan?

Whenever there is a major change to your life you should review your estate plan. If it is the death of your partner or a beneficiary in your will you should alter your will to reflect the change if this change is not already provided for in the will.

Q.5. What taxes will I have to pay following a death?

The Canada Revenue Agency clearly identifies what you need to do following a death. The guideline is of great assistance in ensuring that all things are done correctly.

Q.6. Where can I get help if I need it?

A qualified financial adviser, tax expert, accountant, or estate lawyer can provide you with the necessary advice in these situations.

Q.7. What do I do if there is no will?

If a person dies without a will (intestate) the estate will be distributed according to the laws of your province. You should contact a lawyer for advice. You can also contact your provincial Estates Section of the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee to discuss future actions.