Legal representative

You are the legal representative of a deceased person if you are in one of the following situations:

Note 

As the legal representative, you may wish to appoint an authorized representative to deal with the CRA for tax matters on your behalf. You may do so by completing and mailing (do not faxForm T1013, Authorizing or Cancelling a Representative.

Unless included in your business income, trustee, executor, or liquidator fees paid to you for acting as an executor is income from an office or employment. As the executor, you must report these fees on a T4 slip. For more information see "Employment by a trustee" in Chapter 1 of the T4001, Employers' Guide - Payroll Deductions and Remittances.

As the legal representative, you should provide the CRA with the deceased's date of death as soon as possible. You can advise the CRA by calling 1-800-959-8281, by sending the CRA a letter or a completed Request for the Canada Revenue Agency to Update Records form. This form is included with the CRA Information Sheet RC4111, Canada Revenue Agency - What to Do Following a Death.

To keep the CRA records up to date, also send the CRA the following information:

  • a copy of the death certificate
  • a complete copy of the will or other legal document such as a grant of probate or letters of administration showing that you are the legal representative. The deceased individual's social insurance number (SIN) must be provided on any request or on any documents that you are sending to the CRA
  • the new mailing address of the estate, if applicable

In order for you to have online access to the taxpayer’s account, you must register for Represent a Client prior to sending a copy of the legal documents. Once you have registered with the Represent a Client service, make sure to provide your RepID (representative identifier) when you are submitting all the required documents naming you as the legal representative.

Note

If you are a family member of the deceased and you are unable to obtain the legal documents required to establish yourself as the legal representative, complete the Affidavit form for intestate situations in accordance with the province or territory of the deceased and send it with the requested documents to the Taxpayer Representative Identification System (TRIS) unit of the deceased’s tax centre.

Include this information with the final return if you did not send it right after the deceased's death.

Note 

You should also advise Service Canada of the deceased's date of death.

Under the Income Tax Act, as the legal representative, it is your responsibility to:

  • file all required returns for the deceased
  • ensure that all taxes owing are paid
  • let the beneficiaries know which of the amounts they receive from the estate are taxable

As the legal representative, you are responsible for filing a return for the deceased for the year of death. This return is called the Final return.

You also have to file any returns for previous years that the deceased person did not file. If the person did not leave records about these returns, or if you cannot tell from existing records whether or not the returns were filed, contact the CRA at 1-800-959-8281. If you have to file a return for a year before the year of death, use an Income Tax and Benefit Return for that year. Previous year returns are available on our website, or by calling 1-800-959-8281.

You have to file a T3 Trust Income Tax and Information Return, to report the income of the estate earned after the date of death. If the terms of a trust were established by the will or a court order in relation to the deceased individual's estate under provincial or territorial dependant relief or support law, you also have to file a T3 Trust Income Tax and Information Return for that trust. You may not have to file a T3 return (not to be confused with the final return, which always has to be filed) if the estate is distributed immediately after the person dies, or if the estate did not earn income before the distribution. In these cases, you should give each beneficiary a statement showing their share of the estate. See the T4013, T3 Trust Guide, for more information and, where a trust is created, to determine whether that return has to be filed. See Chart 2 to find out what income to report on the T3 return.

For 2016 and later years, where the primary beneficiary of an alter ego trust, spousal or common-law partner trust, or the last surviving beneficiary of a joint spousal or common-law partner trust dies, there is a deemed year-end of the trust on the date of death of the beneficiary. The income that is deemed to be recognized by the trust upon the death of the beneficiary will be taxed inside the trust.

However, for 2016 and future years, in the case of a testamentary spousal or common-law partner trust, a joint election between the trust and the deceased beneficiary’s graduated rate estate can be filed to report this income in the beneficiary's final return. Report this income on the T3 slip issued to the beneficiary. For the joint election to be valid, all of the following requirements must be met:

  • The beneficiary was a resident of Canada immediately before death
  • The trust is a testamentary trust that is a post-1971 spousal or common-law partner trust and was created by the will of a taxpayer who died before 2017
  • The trust and the beneficiary’s graduated rate estate (GRE) jointly elect in prescribed form
  • A copy of the joint election is filed with both the final T1 return of the beneficiary and the T3 return for the deemed year-end of the trust

As the legal representative of the deceased beneficiary, you need to attach to the final T1 return the joint election in the form of a letter which contains all of the following information:

  • A heading identifying the letter as a subsection 104(13.4) election
  • The T1 and T3 account numbers
  • The income amount that was allocated in the T3 slip and reported on the final T1 return filed for the deceased beneficiary
  • The signatures, names and addresses of both the trustee(s) and the executor(s) for the deceased beneficiary

As the legal representative, you may need information from the deceased person's tax records. Before the CRA can give you this information, the CRA needs the following:

  • a copy of the death certificate
  • the deceased's social insurance number
  • a complete copy of the will or other legal document such as a grant of probate, trust agreement, or letters of administration showing that you are the legal representative

When you write for such information, include the words "The Estate of the Late" in front of the deceased person's name. Include your address so that the CRA can reply directly to you. Send this information to your tax services office or tax centre.

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