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When the Executor of Will is also the Finanical Insitute
March 4, 2021
6:21 am
Nleo
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When the Executor is the Trust Division of the same Finanical Insitute that managed the investments of the deceased.
After the account holder died. What are the stages of process with regard to the registered accounts when there is (are) designated beneficary(ies)? What will be the standard practice under the circumstance,
1. Between the trust and the finance divisions?
2. How the executor going to report to the beneficaries of the will with validation, that the proceeds have indeed been distributed to the named beneficiary(ie) by the finance division?

March 4, 2021
9:51 am
Bill
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New member (yesterday) Ninkin asked similar questions as you (new member today), Nleo. If you review that thread you might have some of your questions answered there.

March 4, 2021
10:16 am
Norman1
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March 4, 2021
11:55 am
Loonie
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As far as I can see, there is no obligation to report such information to anyone except the recipient/beneficiary and the government.
This does raise an interesting question though, as the executor could be seen to be in conflict of interest even though these are technically different corporations. I'm not sure what checks and balances may be in place to ensure the funds are disbursed, although I imagine there are consequences if they are not.
I am not a lawyer. You might need to ask a lawyer for a more definitive answer.

March 4, 2021
12:03 pm
AltaRed
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I imagine the quality of the FI matters. With a big bank like RBC for example, the Estate division with the Executor having a fiduciary duty should be all over the division holding the registered account for not playing ball.

At the same time, a third party Executor does not have the same motivation to be as 'urgent' about timing as would be a family member or friend of the deceased. I've also been curious about how an 'arms length' Executor becomes informed of the death of the testator unless that individual has told a family friend/relative WHO to inform of one's death. It is the Executor who is also responsible for funeral arrangements, etc.

March 4, 2021
1:07 pm
Bill
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If someone names me as beneficiary of their RRIF I'll let the institution know about the death and provide them with whatever they need, including docs from or provided by the executor, to get the money in my hands asap.

The executor's job is to deal with disbursement of the estate, I'm not sure the executor has any obligation re RRIF named beneficiary payouts outside the estate, though I'm guessing they do that job pretty well all the time as often executor, estate beneficiaries and named beneficiaries of RRIFs are the same group of people.

March 4, 2021
2:39 pm
Loonie
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If you are the RSP/RIF beneficiary, you are only going to notify the FI if (a) you are aware of the death; (b) you are aware of the RSP/RIF and where it is located; and (c) you have reason to believe that you are the beneficiary.
While this may usually be the case, it is not always.
Even in my own case, it could be open to question if I am the last of the two of us to die as I will have no close relatives left, the closest being cousins in another country who barely know I exist, let alone if I am alive or dead.
Given the rate at which some of us move our RIFs from one FI to another obscure FI, it could be quite a chase!

In Ontario at least, it really does depend on someone who is aware of the death informing the right people. There is no central depository of information. Otherwise, I guess the body remains in the morgue until some statutory limit applies, and the estate is stalled.

When my father died, the executor-lawyer, who, by any definition was unethical and borderline incompetent on a number of counts, told me to pay for the funeral and that the estate would reimburse me after probate granted as he wasn't going to put out the money himself. I knew the money was there, and so did he. I have often wondered what he was going to do if I'd refused or said I didn't have the cash. There was nobody else he could ask. I wish I'd refused, but at the time I wanted to get it over with, which he was counting on. I've learned since then that banks will typically release estate funds for such a purpose, but he was too lazy to bother with that.

March 4, 2021
2:47 pm
Nleo
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Loonie said
I'm not sure what checks and balances may be in place to ensure the funds are disbursed, although I imagine there are consequences if they are not.  

I am the only residual beneficary in a will, and I am in this situation that the executor (the trust division of the FI) said that the registered accounts are outside the estate but declined my request for a document proving that there is designated beneficary on the accounts as well as that the funds already send to the named.
The cause for my concern is when I studied the estate bank statements (only sent to me upon my request), although the pages are in a way not easy to comprehend, I found activities of the registered accounts many months after the proceeds should had been distributed. I raised the question, the executor said that those datas are only for their internal information, nothing to do with the estate; that I wouldn't understand it.
Should I be convinced?

March 4, 2021
3:58 pm
Loonie
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Can you make an educated guess as to who would likely have been the beneficiary(ies)? If so, you could ask them directly.
Bear in mind that it could potentially have gone to an organization/charity.

I think, realistically, that the only things you need to be concerned about are (a) if you think you were the beneficiary; and (b) if you can't understand the statements that have been presented to you.

They were willing to let you have those statements because, ultimately, they must, so it's better for them to get any concerns you might have out of the way earlier.
When the estate is ultimately wrapped up (assuming you are not in QC, where I don't know what the rules would be as they have very different legal system), the executor must get you to sign a release for them, saying that you are satisfied that they executed the will properly. If you don't understand it, you may not choose to sign it, and then they will have to go to court to present their case and a judge will decide if they did their duty. At least this is the way it works in Ontario., or did 7 years ago when I ran into this. They know this, although you may not. You can hire a lawyer to contest their due diligence if you wish, but of course they will have all kinds of lawyers because they are a big FI.

However, precisely because they are professional executors, they probably have it all wrapped up and not much point in you hiring a lawyer. The main thing I think you can ask for is more info about the charges against the estate from the registered plans. These would likely include taxes owing for RSP/RIF as it seems it was not bequeathed to a spouse, taxes due on TFSA income which occurred after the date of death, and any fees related to liquidating these accounts. If you withhold your signature, they may be more willing to give meaningful explanations, so as to avoid a court appearance, but maybe not.
The discrepancy in dates may be related to the fact that the taxes were not paid at the time of disbursement. I am not really sure how that works.

In my case, I refused to sign off but I did not hire a lawyer to contest it. I never heard another word from anyone. The executors were lawyers. They made no attempt to acknowledge or address my concerns. I did ask a lawyer about it, who thought I had a valid case, but in the end I did not pursue it as it just seemed like too much work even though I had made a detailed list of what was wrong - far more detailed than the laughable list of expenses they had given me. At most, I think I might have gotten 20K from it, minus legal costs. I just wasn't up to it at the time. But at least I think they had to go to court. For all I know they never did and forged my signature instead, or never closed the estate.

That said, I don't think they owe you any information about who was the beneficiary. The deceased would have given them info about how to contact the beneficiary directly as they would have asked for this at the time they agreed to be the executors.

If you think it could have been a charity, you could check the annual reports of charities the person cared about for the years in question. Annual reports often list donors including estate donors.

March 5, 2021
4:23 am
Nleo
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Loonie, if I understand it correctly, you didn’t sign off the release? And your executor never closed the estate? Is it legal that the executor can do that?

There are few documents the executor yet avoiding my requests. It pressurized me few times but I just could not sign the release form. On the other hand, the executor not willing to provide me the schedule of when the balance of the estate can be released to me, albeit there are many questions towards the estate account. We are at a standstill.

I hope someone who involves in the areas that my post has touched could shed some light please.

March 5, 2021
6:40 am
AltaRed
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The OP may wish to google for this type of information. One such link is http://estatelawcanada.blogspo.....-take.html which talks about the 'executor's year'. If the OP is focused on getting to a satisfactory endpoint, the OP may well be advised to ask a Family Law lawyer how best to prod the Executor to provide the appropriate information, what is a reasonable expectation for this information, and how to best wrap this up.

What the OP may be expecting is beyond what an Executor is obligated to provide, or not. Opinions from an anonymous forum are helpful to a degree but they are not formal opinions nor can they provide legal advice.

March 5, 2021
7:30 am
Norman1
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Yes, it would be a good idea to see a lawyer and determine what one's rights are.

The executor does not need to obtain the releases from the beneficiaries. It is better, less work, and likely less expensive if that can be done. But, the executor is not obligated to and can get the release from the judge.

Yes, it is perfectly legal for an executor to apply to court for approval of his/her work and wind the estate up after that approval, without the unanimous agreement of the beneficiaries.

March 5, 2021
7:46 am
Bill
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Nleo, I think at the end of the day you'll have to decide if you want to retain a lawyer for advice re areas where you feel the FI/executor has not given you what you want. Though there is lots of good info online, from various law firms, about your rights as a beneficiary of a Will (make sure it applies to your province), I'd spend some time reviewing those before I made my decision.

March 5, 2021
7:49 am
Nleo
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Norman1 said
Yes, it is perfectly legal for an executor to apply to court for approval of his/her work and wind the estate up after that approval, without the unanimous agreement of the beneficiaries.  

Surely the court would prepare to hear from me the reason why I do not sign off the release.

March 5, 2021
8:09 am
Norman1
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Don't assume that!

If the executor needs to do 12 things for the approval and convinces the judge that those 12 things have been done, then there is no need to hear from anyone.

Unless the will gives that to the beneficiaries, the beneficiaries don't have a veto over the windup of the estate.

That's why I think it is a good idea to spend some money and see a lawyer to determine what one's rights legally are. People often believe they have rights that they actually don't legally have.

March 5, 2021
8:55 am
Nleo
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So now the executor is not giving me the schedule of when the balance of the estate can be released to me. Can they hold up the cash for as long as they like?

March 5, 2021
9:12 am
Nleo
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Norman1 said
If the executor needs to do 12 things for the approval and convinces the judge that those 12 things have been done, then there is no need to hear from anyone.
 

Sorry for my ignorance Norman1. Who've got to set the 12 things or whatever the number will be? Please give a brief explanation of how it will be done. Most grateful.

Norman1 said Unless the will gives that to the beneficiaries, the beneficiaries don't have a veto over the windup of the estate. 

Sorry that I do not quite understand the first part.

March 5, 2021
1:18 pm
Loonie
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Nleo said
Loonie, if I understand it correctly, you didn’t sign off the release? And your executor never closed the estate? Is it legal that the executor can do that?

There are few documents the executor yet avoiding my requests. It pressurized me few times but I just could not sign the release form. On the other hand, the executor not willing to provide me the schedule of when the balance of the estate can be released to me, albeit there are many questions towards the estate account. We are at a standstill.

I hope someone who involves in the areas that my post has touched could shed some light please.  

You understand correctly that I did not sign the release. I had received all the money the executors were going to give me.
I never heard another word from them or from any court, so I don't know for sure if they appeared before a judge to get approval, but I assume they did and I assume approval was given.

I did consult a lawyer, and it was clear that a lawyer could make representation to the judge to present my concerns, but I chose not to proceed with that.

You have apparently been asked to sign off before receiving all of your share. I received similar requests annually, long before the estate was completely settled. I was amazed they would even ask this, but they did, and of course I ignored the requests.

It can take some time to settle an estate for reasons beyond the control of the executor, especially if the estate is complicated. In my opinion, you should be able to ask why it is taking so long and you should be able to get a reasonable answer, but I'm not sure that is legally enforceable. In most cases, I think it's best to wait. Even my father's estate, which I did not consider complicated, took about 3 years to finish. There were no assets outside the province or things that were difficult to liquidate, no registered plans. There was one GIC that had a couple of years left to run, which we agreed to let run out because it was at a very good rate.

I don't know if there is a maximum amount of time that an executor can hold up the distribution of the estate, but it would behoove them to explain themselves if they want to avoid legal proceedings initiated by you. For reference, I received annual statements from my father's executors at the end of the year.

However, as others have said, if you think you have some rights that you want to exert you should probably speak to a lawyer. Some will give you the first half hour free, to give you an idea of whether you have a case and what would be involved and the likely costs. I doubt very much that you can get any further with this situation without speaking to a lawyer. As you say, you are at a standstill with the executor.

March 5, 2021
5:57 pm
Norman1
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Nleo said
So now the executor is not giving me the schedule of when the balance of the estate can be released to me. Can they hold up the cash for as long as they like?

There's no such schedule for the executor to provide because the timelines are not predictable.

For example, CRA is not required to issue the clearance certificate within a specific amount of time. The trust company executor won't pay out unless it receives that certificate from CRA about the deceased's income taxes owing.

CRA may refuse to issue the certificate because of issues with the deceased's taxes. If the executor has to wrangle with CRA for three years before CRA is happy, then none of the beneficiaries are going to receive anything until three years later!

Also, if Bob died this month, then the executor has to file Bob's 2020 tax return. Executor also has to file Bob's 2021 tax return for the two months Bob was alive this year. However, executor won't be able to file Bob's 2021 tax return until early 2022. The 2021 tax return forms won't be available from CRA until then! As well, Bob's 2021 tax slips won't be issued until then!

So, 1½ years to get the final tax returns taken care of. Then, apply for the tax clearance certificate from CRA and wait for that. Easily two years before Bob's estate can be finalized.

March 5, 2021
6:16 pm
Norman1
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Nleo said

Sorry for my ignorance Norman1. Who've got to set the 12 things or whatever the number will be? Please give a brief explanation of how it will be done. Most grateful.

The process is called "passing of accounts" and is prescribed by the applicable provincial estate administration laws. These give an idea of the process for Ontario and for British Columbia:

Estate Administration in Ontario: Passing of Accounts
The Final Step: Passing the Accounts in a Contentious Estate (British Columbia)

Norman1 said
Unless the will gives that to the beneficiaries, the beneficiaries don't have a veto over the windup of the estate. 

Nleo said
Sorry that I do not quite understand the first part.

If the will doesn't require the executor to obtain a beneficiary's approval of the accounts, then the executor doesn't need to satisfy that beneficiary. As Loonie's account shows, the executor can obtain that approval from the probate court instead.

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