The importance of a will cannot be emphasized enough, and the reason why this document is necessary is because it provides you with the freedom to choose. You will get to make decisions regarding your estate and how it should be distributed after your death, and this information will be based on your wants and preferences. When this is included in your will, there will be no room for errors or disputes, as your wishes will be clearly stated in this document.
A will would allow you to choose the executor or personal representative for the administration of your estate, and you can choose to have more than one person in this position if you like. This person can be a close friend, an organization or an individual you trust. You can have one or more personal representatives for your estate or you can choose to have a single or joint or alternate PRs, and you can list multiple personal representatives in case one or two of them do not wish to act. The person will have the freedom to choose and may be subject to certain conditions.
A person cannot be forced to be a personal representative or an executor because a lot of responsibility comes with this role. Those who do not wish to take on this role can surrender their right to apply for the grant of probate under certain conditions, one of them being that you did not “intermeddle” in the estate.
In order for a personal representative to renounce their rights to act in this role, that person must not have been already involved in the administration of the estate, meaning they have not made any payments for debts associated with the estate or received funds on its behalf. These acts would be referred to as intermeddling. They would collect an asset, pay a debt, run the deceased’s business after their passing, or hand over an asset to a beneficiary.
Arranging a funeral, securing goods or moving assets to a place of safety are not considered acts of intermeddling and preserving the estate assets initially does not mean you are assuming the role of executor. Intermeddling would require you to have something that would give the impression that you intend to act as a personal representative for the estate. Taking possession of the property belonging to the estate, for example, would give others the impression that you intend to act as a PR for that estate as would representing to any individual or organization and declaring yourself as the PR for the estate.
If a PR has intermeddling in an estate, they would be liable for several things, including loss or damages for improperly handling the estate and taxes, just to name a few examples.
This information can be overwhelming and confusing, but the estate lawyers at Tacium Vincent & Associates can provide you with more information. We will clarify the details and gladly address any concerns you may have, so contact our firm today if you are in Winnipeg!