The New Estate Administration Act's Impact On Personal RepresentativesAlberta’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:
  1. 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”.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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/.