Beneficiaries to an estate will often inquire into how long it takes to administer an estate, Personal Representatives without experience administering an estate are also curious.  In a recent Alberta Court decision (Schnuerer Estate (Re), 2019 ABQB 830) it became a little clearer what parties can expect from a Personal Representative.  The new Estate Administration Act was proclaimed into force in June 2015 and governs the actions of a Personal Representative whether under a grant issued by the court, or where a Personal Representative acts under a Will that is not being probated through the court.  For clarity, a Personal Representative is synonymous with Executor – the change in legislation was done in part to modernize some of the terms used.

In Schnuerer, the beneficiaries applied to the court for the removal of the Personal Representative in August 2019 believing that matters were moving along too slowly. The deceased died on July 2, 2018. The Court reviewed the Estate Administration Act as well as the existing case law on the matter, and while the court remains reluctant to remove the Personal Representative chosen by the deceased, the overriding obligation of the Personal Representative is to the beneficiaries.  In this case, the Court had issued an order and provided time for the named Personal Representative to comply but matters still did not progress.  Finding the estate administration deficient, the order for removal was granted.

For those wishing a glimpse into the responsibilities and duties of a Personal Representative, this case is most helpful.