2. Make arrangements
Question & AnswerI’ve been named an estate trustee in a will. What do I have to do?
There are some things you will have to do immediately after the person’s death.
Arrange and pay for the funeral
Check the will to see if there are any instructions about the funeral. You have the legal right to make decisions according to the person’s wishes, even if family members and friends don’t agree.
Sometimes the person might have planned their funeral or left instructions in their will about things like:
- burial or cremation
- funeral or memorial service, or wake
- donating their organs
Funeral expenses are paid from the before you give anything to the . You might be able to apply for the Canada Pension Plan death benefit if the person who died worked and paid into the Canada Pension Plan. This can be used to help pay for the funeral.
Get the death certificate
You will need several copies of the death certificate. For example, you will need it to sell the person’s house or to access the person’s bank accounts. You will also have to file a copy of the death certificate when you apply to the court for a certificate of appointment of .
A death certificate can be issued by a funeral director. Or, if the person died in Ontario, you can contact Service Ontario to order a certificate. If the person died outside Canada, you must get the certificate from the country where they died.
Tell others about the death
You have to do things like:
- notify the government to stop payments like CPP, OAS, social assistance, and disability insurance payments
- notify companies that have with a , such as registered investments, pensions, and life insurance policies
- cancel the person’s driver’s licence, and social insurance and OHIP cards
- close personal accounts such as utility accounts, credit cards, and memberships or online accounts
You also have to tell the person’s bank about the death. If there are any joint accounts with right of survivorship, it’s usually enough to give the bank a copy of the death certificate to give the joint owner sole access to the account. If there are any sole accounts, they are usually frozen until you get a certificate of appointment of estate trustee.
If the person lived in a rental unit as a sole tenant, you have to give the landlord notice of their death. And you should give the landlord notice of termination of the rental agreement.