Prior to death
- Obtain a file copy of the client’s estate documents (wills, trusts, powers of attorney). If the client does not have a will or power of attorney, recommend he or she seeks legal advice to complete estate planning.
- Identify executor, trustees and powers of attorney. Confirm their contact information.
- Review client beneficiary designations – ensure they reflect the client’s wishes.
- Discuss with client his or her intention respecting any joint assets and suggest a deed of trust for any assets held jointly with parties other than spouse to ensure intention is clear.
- Connect with client’s family at either a formal meeting or informal client appreciation event.
- Review and update annually client asset valuation statement for outside assets, estate documentation and discuss any changes to client’s family situation.
NOTE - Contact your National Office before proceeding to ensure you are aware of and understand internal policies.
Upon receiving word of death
- Reach out to family
- Extend condolences
- If client did not leave a will, find out from family who will be obtaining a Certificate of Estate Trustee without a will.
- Reach out to executor
- Ensure estate has an estate attorney; if they do not have one, be able to recommend one
- Discuss valuations required for probate application
- Discuss joint assets to confirm type of ownership
- Discuss any issues or concerns the executor may have.
- Review estate documentation and accounts
- Obtain original or notarial copy of death certificate (one for each custodian with whom you will be dealing) and a notarial copy of the will
- Ask executor to send a notarial copy of probated will once obtained
- Check with asset custodian on particular requirements to transfer on death, providing information to executor.
When the client has assets at CI, ensure you:
- Inform CI Client Services of the death
- Obtain written requirements and claim form from the Estates Team
- Gather all required documents from your client representative(s) and complete forms with interested parties
- Forward all documents according to our email to CI Estate Services
- Compile a comprehensive list of all assets and liabilities
- Compile a FMV and ACB statement of all accounts and assets as at the date of death
Working with the heirs
- Assets in joint name
- Surviving spouse – work with survivor and gauge proper time to remove deceased’s name on account
- Joint with other beneficiaries – review any deed of trust or other documentation to determine proper characterization of asset.
- Assets with beneficiaries designation – check with asset custodian as to requirements to transfer and proceed to transfer to named beneficiary.
STOP: Unless assets are held in a trust with a succeeding trustee named, you no longer have a client and have no authority to manage the assets.
Working with the executor during administration
- Taxation – Ensure you discuss with the executor and the estate’s external tax advisor if the executor wishes you to deal with the advisor directly:
- Discuss if election to roll assets over at FMV should be considered
- Discuss if opportunity for optional returns exist
- Discuss income that can be sprinkled amongst terminal T1 and, where available, optional returns
- Identify pooled fund distributions declared but not yet received and if any segregated security dividends/interest payments
- Discuss if a final spousal RRSP contribution is possible.
- Ongoing administration
- Once probate is granted, obtain a notarial copy
- Review beneficiary information and obtain updated addresses, Social Insurance Numbers as required
- Obtain copy of executor’s driver’s license to satisfy “know your client” legislation
- Discuss with executor whether an in specie or in cash distribution to the heirs is contemplated
- Review account holdings with executor and obtain written instructions from executor as to liquidation of any assets. Note: Ensure to recommend the liquidation of assets considered to be higher risk and therefore not appropriate for an in specie distribution.
- Discuss opening of an estate account with your company and obtain:
- Estate account application signed by executor
- Letter of instruction directing assets to be moved from deceased’s account to estate account
- Investment Advisory Agreement signed by executor.
NOTE: Depending on provincial laws, review and diarize spousal rights claim and in particular any limitations on transferring assets.
Retaining the business and relationship with beneficiaries
- Prior to distribution, meet with beneficiaries to re-introduce your services.
- If the will creates an ongoing testamentary trust, discuss with the executor the investment objective of the trust and your investment services.