Executor Checklist to Sell Ontario Estate Property

In many estates the house may be the most valuable asset. Executors need to reduce the risks involved in managing real estate. Here is a checklist for some of the tricky things to consider.

Remember this: As executor, you need more than a checklist to protect yourself. Always get legal advice from an experienced estate lawyer.

As an executor:

  • Change locks and alarm passcodes
  • Secure property doors, windows and access to garages
  • Make sure the house is insured for vacant coverage
  • Confirm if there are any other properties in Ontario
  • Video and photograph contents
  • Remove valuables for safekeeping

A. Legal matters – confirm these with your estate lawyer:

  • Does the will give you authority to sell?
  • Do you need to probate the will in Ontario to sell the property?
  • Do you have a title search for liens or other encumbrances?
  • Are there co-owners of the property who must also sell?
  • Are there any tenants?
  • Do you need a power of attorney to sell any property?
  • Can all executors agree unanimously to sell?
  • Is the property to be held in trust for someone under the will?
  • Do you need to keep the peace in the family and sell to a relative?

B. Mortgage Matters

  • Determine if there is a mortgage on the property
  • Can you pay the monthly payments?
  • Is the mortgage life insured?
  • Is the mortgage open or is there a discharge penalty?

C. Property Bills

  • Find the most recent property tax bills
  • Can you arrange to continue paying utilities?
  • Are there service contracts to pay, for example, lawn care/landscaping, furnace or air-conditioning maintenance, etc.?
  • Are there any rental agreements i.e. water heater, etc.?

D. Property Appraisals

  • Will you need to have the property appraised for fair market value?
  • Will the property be repaired before the appraisal?
  • Do you need multiple appraisals before you list the property for sale?
  • Are there any signs of water damage inside the house?
  • Are there signs of hazardous materials, asbestos or mold?

E. Property Repairs

  • Are improvements required to sell the property?
  • Does the will permit you to make improvements?
  • Does the will allow you to paint the property?
  • Are you able to use estate money to carry out any repairs?
  • Can you complete any unfinished renovations to sell the property?

F. Real Estate Agents

  • Have you interviewed several real estate agents?
  • Do you know the difference between list price and sale price?
  • Does your agent have a marketing plan?
  • Can you negotiate commission?
  • Will you provide your own home inspection report?
  • Protect yourself from property flips at higher prices

G. Sale Conditions

  • When should the closing date be for the sale?
  • Will you be selling the property “as is”?
  • Does anyone have an option to purchase the property?
  • Are there any deadlines for the sale?
  • Is there a current survey for the property?
  • Must you sell the property to pay income taxes?

H. Tenants

  • Is a property vacant?
  • Do the tenants know to whom to pay the rent?
  • Can you verify that the rents paid are legal?
  • Do you need to have vacant possession of the property?

Selling estate real estate is a complex transaction. When you are selling under a will or power attorney, you cannot afford mistakes. Your duty is to get fair market value and to comply with the terms of the will. Make sure your estate lawyer explains your duties and obligations under the will.

You need to keep records of the advice and the steps you take. Keep records of your time and money spent. Receipts are important to claim reimbursement. You may have to justify your work years later to tax authorities or beneficiaries.

Need advice about selling estate property in Ontario?

Want to know what the will or power of attorney document lets you claim for expenses? What about your executor compensation for selling estate property?

I have been giving executors expert advice since 1978. Contact me for a consultation.

About Edward Olkovich

Executors facing estate challenges call upon Ed Olkovich who is a Toronto estate lawyer and Certified Specialist in Estates and Trusts Law. Ed is an author and edits Carswell’s legal guide Compensation and Duties of Estate Trustees, Guardians and Attorneys. He has resolved estate disputes and probate problems since 1978. © 2016