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.

CI’s requirements

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.