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Dying Without a Will

Dying Without a Will: Who Can Manage the Deceased’s Tax Affairs?

Where a family member of a deceased individual would like to be recognized by CRA as the person or persons who will manage the tax affairs of the person who died without a last will and testament, they can now do so by completing a CRA Form (Affidavit for intestate situation, Forms RC549 to RC561, with no form for Quebec, and no RC554).

Only certain people can register to manage these affairs. The form lists the priority order for those that may apply to be the representative. If another person ranks higher than the applicant, consent and a signature must be obtained from the higher ranking person(s). The priority order is generally:

  • Spouse or common-law partner
  • Adult children
  • Parents
  • Siblings
  • Grandparents

CRA aims to process the application within four weeks.

This new procedure comes as welcome relief. Previously, when a person died without a will, the applicant would normally have to go to Court to be appointed as the Administrator. The costs of this process could cause hardship, especially if the only reason for the appointment in Court is to file tax returns.

Action Item: If a deceased family member dies intestate, consider this option to minimize legal costs when settling the individual’s tax affairs.