Estate Trustee / ETDL

When wills or estate holdings are challenged and undergo litigation, appointing a court officer to oversee the estate's assets can be an effective solution.

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The death of a loved one often brings significant stress to families. Beneficiaries might have conflicting opinions regarding the administration of the estate and asset entitlements, potentially leading to litigation among interested parties. During such disputes, and until a settlement is reached or litigation concludes, it may be beneficial for the estate's interests to appoint a neutral, independent third party. This party, an estate trustee (ET) or estate trustee during litigation (ETDL), is responsible for maintaining and protecting the estate's assets and managing its affairs transparently for all involved.

Under the Ontario Estates Act, a representative from TDB Advisory can be appointed by the court to act as an ET or ETDL. Serving as an impartial executor, the ET or ETDL, as an officer of the court, maintains neutrality and independence from all concerned parties and fulfils their duties in a fiduciary and executory capacity. If the court requires, the ET or ETDL is also authorized to sell the estate's assets and secure the proceeds until the resolution of any litigation.
The role of an ET or ETDL is to reduce conflicts among the estate's beneficiaries, typically the next of kin, by safeguarding and managing the estate's assets until they can be distributed following the settlement or resolution of any legal dispute(s). Furthermore, the ET or ETDL can be instructed to collect relevant documentation and share information to assist the involved parties in resolving any dispute and concluding litigation, if any.

As an agile and entrepreneurial boutique firm, TDB distinguishes its estate trustee services from traditional, institutional trustees by offering decisive practical and cost-effective solutions on a timely basis.

Duties typically include

Determining the value of the estate’s assets and liabilities
Protecting and safeguarding the estate’s assets
Preserving and, if necessary, tracing any assets discovered to be missing
Realizing on the assets of the estate or determining whether certain assets should be retained to be distributed “in specie”, the actual assets to the beneficiaries
Maintaining estate and trust accounts
Reviewing and handling disbursements
Ascertaining, defending, settling, and paying any debts of the estate
Filing income tax returns
Investing the estate’s funds until final distribution

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