Choose the liquidator carefully for optimal estate settlement

Published on November 1, 2019

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When preparing your will, you will have to appoint a liquidator (formerly called an executor) to settle the estate. As this task can be both complex and delicate, it is best to choose a person you trust, to ensure that you leave this world with peace of mind. Here is some information that will help you well understand the implications of this role and guide you in your decision.

How to choose your liquidator?

Most people choose only one liquidator. However, be aware that it is possible to name more than one. Indeed, you could divide your estate into several components: funeral arrangements, property, debts and taxes, etc. However, if several liquidators are appointed and the tasks are not divided, all the individuals mentioned in the will then have to work together to settle each step of the estate, which may make it more difficult for them to do so. In addition, it is better to ensure that there is no conflict between the liquidators, in order to avoid unnecessary disputes.

The liquidator may be an adult or a married or fully emancipated minor. The notary could also be the person acting as liquidator. Some professionals, such as lawyers and accountants, may also carry out this role. Since estate settlement can take several months, it is crucial to identify one or more individuals who will be able to do so when the time comes.

What are the liquidator's obligations and duties?

In order to ensure optimal settlement of the estate, the liquidator must act with prudence, diligence, honesty and loyalty. Under no circumstances should liquidators act in their own favour and they must avoid any conflict of interest. In addition, it is their duty to make reasonable decisions and they are prohibited from withholding information, failing which they could be dismissed from their position.

Liquidators will have the duty to verify whether or not the deceased has left a will and to verify it. They have to make an inventory of the deceased's assets and debts and will also have to administer the estate. Moreover, they are responsible for selling certain assets, paying creditors as well as federal and provincial taxes, and also have to give the assets to the heirs mentioned in the will. Various notices will have to be published, which you can find out by consulting the guide What to Do in the Event of Death, prepared by the Government of Québec. In addition, liquidators have to make sure to file the tax returns, including for the year of death, and so they may have to settle this matter a number of months after the death.

Delegating certain tasks: a possible option for the liquidator?

In the event that the liquidator is unable to carry out certain tasks, he or she may delegate these to another person, by signing a mandate (or power of attorney). This document will thereby authorize the chosen person to act as liquidator to settle certain aspects of the estate. This may be the case if the liquidator is unable to be present at certain appointments, for example.

Is there protection for the liquidator?

When you choose to entrust the settlement of the estate to a relative or friend, you are asking them to take on a great responsibility. In addition to the grief the person has to deal with, that person is committed to carrying out many tasks that can be time-consuming and stressful. That’s why the Aeterna Complex offers you Executor Protection insurance that can relieve the liquidator of some administrative and financial pressure. With this protection, the appointed person will have access to the financial resources necessary to administer the estate almost immediately after the death, even if your bank accounts are frozen.

By contacting a member of our team, we will be able to analyse your needs, in order to offer you the policy value that suits you. Our expertise and attentive listening will help you appoint the liquidator in an informed manner, for a guaranteed peace of mind. Placing your confidence and trust in the Aeterna Funeral Complex means benefiting from personalized services, so that you leave this world in keeping with your wishes.

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