Alberta’s new Estate Administration Act (the “EAA”) comes into force on June 1st, 2015. This Act represents the Government of Alberta’s reformation of succession law. A primary goal of this is legislation is to to clarify the role and responsibilities of a Personal Representative. Major changes to the law with respect to Personal Representatives include:
- The duties of a Personal Representative are now listed in the EAA. In the past, Personal Representatives were informed of their obligations through common law, which often led to confusion. According to the EAA, a Personal Representative must perform his or her role:
- Honestly and in good faith;
- In accordance with the testator’s intention and with the will, if a valid will exists,
- With the care, diligence and skill that a person of ordinary produce would exercise in comparable circumstances where a fiduciary relationship exists; and
- The personal representative must distribute the estate as soon as possible. This provisions marks the end of the “executor’s year”.
- In addition to the obligations of a Personal Representative, the EAA also sets out specific core tasks of a Personal Representative:
- To identify the estate assets and liabilities;
- To administer and manage the estate;
- To satisfy the debts and obligations of the estate; and
- To distribute and account for the administration of the estate.
- The definition of a Personal Representative now includes an executor, administrator, judicial trustee, and a Personal Representative named in a Will regardless of whether a grant has been issued. In situations where a Personal Representatives does not obtain a grant, notice of same must be provided to all parties who are interested in the estate.
- Personal Representatives now have the legislative authority to deal with real property of an estate without having to first obtain consent of all adult beneficiaries or a court order.
- Professional Personal Representatives are now held to a higher standard of care and are required to exercise a greater degree of skill when acting in their professional capacity.
For more information about the EAA, please consult the Alberta Queen’s Printer website at: http://www.qp.alberta.ca/.