The Report for Discussion by the Alberta Law Reform Institute (ALRI) raises issues relating to the administration of the estate of a deceased person and the role and responsibilities of the personal representative administrating the estate.
Alberta Law Reform Institute
Estate administration is the job of gathering the assets of the deceased, paying the debts and distributing the estate to the persons entitled by will or the intestate succession legislation.
Often the personal representative [PR] will be a family member who may have no previous experience of such a job and will also be dealing with the death of a family member at the same time.
Surveys have found that the job of a PR is not well understood and there is little information available to help.
This Report for Discussion proposes key changes to improve the process of estate administration in Alberta.
First, it proposes that a PR, whether appointed by a will or on intestacy, have the power to act from the death. Second, it proposes to set out clearly the values that the PR must follow in administering an estate. The PR must act with a duty of care, administer the estate in a timely manner, and maintain communication. Third, it proposes to outline a clear and rational statement explaining the process of estate administration and the PR’s core tasks. The starting point for this statement will be the current list of the PR’s core tasks in the Surrogate Rules. Finally, it stresses the importance of communication by the PR to the beneficiaries, creditors and others. Communication arises in all aspects of the PR’s job. The process of administering an estate is made easier for the PR and all involved if communication is open and effective.