The technical language that is often used in the estate administration context can be tricky to understand.
The person handling an estate will either be called an executor or an administrator depending on where they get their authority to act.
An executor is the term for the individual (or trust company) appointed in a Will to administer and distribute the property of the deceased person.
This person is responsible for carrying out the wishes of the deceased according to the terms of his or her Will.
This authority arises immediately following the death of a person who has a Will.
Depending on the assets that are in the estate, it may be necessary for the executor to have their appointment confirmed by the court.
An administrator is appointed by the court to deal with an estate in situations where:
a) The Will fails to appoint an executor;
b) The executor(s) named have renounced or are unable to act; or
c) There is no Will.
When these situations arise, there is no one who has legal authority to act on behalf of the estate or deal with the deceased’s assets.
In Saskatchewan, The Administration of Estates Act sets out the order in which people have the right to apply to be an administrator of an estate.
If there is no Will for the administrator to follow, they will be required to distribute the estate assets in accordance with the scheme set out in the applicable provincial legislation.
While there are often many details to take care of, in general, both an executor and an administrator will be required to: