By Letter to the Editor on November 26, 2019.
My brother Nick passed away on Dec 28, 1994 and did not have a will. Lydia and I travelled to Canora, Sask., when the weather was about 60 below zero on New Year’s Day to attend his funeral three days later.
After the funeral I contacted an estate lawyer, John Stamatinos, from Yorkton, Sask. He suggested that I be appointed by the Court of Queen’s Bench as administrator. Before this could happen, I had to contact my siblings to get their approval. The process took several months because the family lived throughout Canada. When the lawyer received all the paperwork and presented it to the judge, I was selected administrator of my brother’s estate.
Soon after I was put to work and held an auction sale to sell machinery on the farm and had a realtor sell a house in Preeceville, Sask. The lawyer transferred the farm to Nick’s beneficiary, our mother, and made a will for her designating me as the executor. There was a lot of work to be done especially since I lived in Coaldale and all communication had to be done by fax machine; there was no email at the time. I managed to complete the administration of the estate in two years.
When my mother passed away in 1998, I had to carry out the duties assigned to me as executor of her estate, but the work was easier this time than I had previously experienced. At this time the lawyer transferred the farm from my mother’s estate to me. She willed the farm to me since I was her beneficiary. In the meantime, I paid a renter to farm the land, just enough money to pay the property tax and hail insurance. In the end I sold the farm to a neighbour; that made it easier for me.
I know from personal experience that handling estate matters is a much smoother process when there is a will involved. I would encourage everyone to ensure they have a will in place to make things easer for the executors.