TD Estate Planning and Settlement Advice

The processes regarding Estates can be difficult to navigate on your own. That’s why we’re providing information to help you and your loved ones implement an effective Estate plan.

We’ve laid out two distinct phases of the journey: Planning and Estate Settlement. We’ll walk you through some of the key steps within each to help make the process clearer and less stressful. You will also find answers to common questions and a glossary of estate-related terms.

Planning Your Legacy

Setting up your Estate plan can help provide peace of mind for you and your family. Making a plan now can help alleviate the stress your loved ones may face while settling your affairs.

We recognize that having this discussion with your loved ones can be hard and we’re here to help make that conversation a little easier.

How to approach preparing your Estate plan

We recognize that your needs and assets are unique. To help make this process easier, we’ve made a list of things to consider when you’re ready to discuss your Will and Estate plan.

  1. Gather your key documents, such as real estate documents, bank account statements, tax returns, insurance policies, as well as any existing Wills and Powers of Attorney.

  2. Consider your current financial situation as a guideline to confirm your assets and liabilities.

  3. Decide on the objectives of your Estate plan.

  4. Think about how you want your Estate to be distributed.

  5. Consider your executors—the people who will carry out your wishes as outlined in your Will.

  6. Prepare your Estate plan, including your Will, Powers of Attorney, and other similar documents.

  7. Sophisticated estate planning solutions, including donor-advised funds and trusts are available through TD Wealth.

For more information, refer to Passing on your Wealth (PDF).

Purposeful planning for your loved ones

A Will is an essential part of your Estate plan that can reflect both your values today and the best interests of your loved ones down the road.

It’s also important to consider who you would like named as the Executor of your Estate in your Will. Choosing a close loved one(s) to carry out your wishes is both an honour and a big responsibility.

Reviewing your Will, Estate plan and Power of Attorney arrangements periodically can keep those documents up-to-date and aligned with your wishes.

More on what TD offers

TD can work with you and your loved ones through the planning process. We have a team of Tax and Estate Planning professionals who are focused on helping you realize your vision for the future or helping to make sure that your intentions are properly reflected in your documents.

If your estate is complex or you feel that the burden to manage it is too much to ask of a loved one, TD has professional estate executors and co-executors. TD provides executor services if this is something you want to explore.

Settling an estate

We are sorry for the loss of your loved one. We understand that it’s a difficult time for you and will do whatever we can to make the process of settling their Estate as easy as possible.

We’ve designed a simple process for you to follow and will work with you personally and compassionately to administer their estate.

How TD can help

Our first priority is to assist you with any immediate financial needs, such as funeral costs, that may be paid from the Estate's funds. We’ll need an original or notarized copy of the death certificate or funeral director’s certificate to make these payments.

A representative from our Estates team will provide you with assistance to help you feel confident with settling the Estate in a way that is comfortable for you.

We recognize that being an executor is a big responsibility. We're here to help. 

What you’ll need to do

  1. Notify us of your loss

    If you are the Executor  or Authorized Representative  for an Estate, visit any TD branch so we can help.

    For steps on how to get started with settling TD assets, please refer to our Executor Quick Start Checklist (PDF)

  2. Gather the right documents

    Providing the Death Certificate , a Will  and your personal identification will start the process. If you don't have these additional documents, we’ll guide you.

    For a comprehensive guide on executor responsibilities, including both financial and non-financial matters, please refer to our Executor Assist Kit (PDF).

  3. Settling an Estate

    Once all required documents are received, the time to settle an estate can vary depending on the complexity of the Estate or if probate is required.

    The executor(s) is/are responsible for keeping beneficiaries updated on the status of the Estate.

What is the Estate process when there is no Will?

When someone dies without a Will (also known as dying Intestate in some provinces), the order of preference for persons to apply to be appointed as the Estate Trustee is outlined in the applicable provincial legislation.

Glossary of Terms

Keeping track of all these terms and definitions can get complicated. Here’s a list of roles, legal terms and other helpful definitions to help you navigate planning and settling an estate.

  1. Beneficiary: A person who inherits all or part of the money or property from someone who has died.

  2. Death Certificate: Also known as a funeral director’s certificate, statement of death or provincial certificate of death. It’s a copy of the entry for the deceased in the province’s death register.

  3. Designated Beneficiary: A person who is designated as the beneficiary of a registered product that is not considered part of the Estate.

  4. Estate Account: A chequing or savings account, registered in the name of the Estate that can be used to consolidate the Estate’s assets during the administration period, helping executors manage Estate transactions, including disbursing funds to beneficiaries.

  5. Estate Administrator: A legal term referring to a person appointed by the court to administer the Estate of a deceased person who died without making a Will.

  6. Estate Plan: A written document that outlines an individual’s strategy for the disposition and administration of their property at their death, incapacity or total disability. The strategy is usually accomplished through the writing of a Will and establishing Powers of Attorney and similar documents. In some instances, it also involves setting up Trusts and plans for business succession. Estate planning is an ongoing process, so Estate plans should be reviewed on a regular basis or when circumstances change.

  7. Estate Trustee: The person appointed under a Will to control and protect the Estate's assets, pay off any debts and distribute the estate assets in accordance with the terms of the Will.

  8. Executor, Authorized Representative, or Liquidator (Quebec only): A person who is appointed to carry out the wishes of the deceased, distribute assets, file tax returns, protect property and pay expenses.

  9. Inheritance Tax: Tax that is paid from the Estate of the deceased that must be paid before the Estate is distributed among the beneficiaries.

  10. Intestate: When a person passes away without making a Will.

  11. Letters of Administration: A legal document issued by the applicable provincial court that names the person appointed to administer a deceased person’s estate when the person died without making a Will.

  12. Letters of Direction: Provided by the authorized representative as instructions on how to disburse an Estate.

  13. Next of Kin: The closest related family member(s) of the deceased, which can include a spouse, a civil partner, and any children.

  14. Power of Attorney (POA): When a person is given full authority over the account(s) of a person, and is granted authority to do anything the account holder can do, except change a beneficiary designation or make a new Will.

  15. Probate: The official confirmation of the validity of the Will by the courts, confirming the executor or executrix's legal authority.

  16. Will: The legal statement of a person's wishes concerning the disposal of his or her property after death. Some assets can be passed on without a Will – for example, jointly-owned assets such as a home plus life insurance proceeds, and, in some circumstances, registered funds, annuities and pensions.

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