Tax and Non-Tax Implications of Death in Canada: A Comprehensive Guide - Kerr Financial
Tax and Non-Tax Implications of Death in Canada: A Comprehensive Guide
Category: Family Office, Financial Planning, Investment Management Tags: CanadianLaw, DeathAbroad, DeathAndTaxes, DeathinCanada, EstatePlanning, EstateTaxation, LegalResponsibilities, NonTaxImplications, PostMortemPlanning, Taximplications

Navigating the aftermath of a loved one’s death can be a daunting task, especially when faced with various administrative and legal responsibilities. This guide aims to provide clarity on both tax and non-tax aspects that arise when someone passes away in Canada. 

Non-Tax Aspects of Death 

Immediate Actions to Take Following a Death 

Notification of Authorities and Loved Ones: 

  • If the death was unexpected or occurred at home, a medical professional or the police should be contacted to officially pronounce the death. 
  • Inform close family members and friends.

If the deceased was traveling or on a work assignment, it’s essential to notify the respective travel company or employer. 

Steps to take when handling a death abroad:

  • Secure an official death certificate from the country where the death occurred. 
  • Ensure it’s translated into English or French.
  • Plan for the transportation of the remains back to Canada. 

Legal and Administrative Measures 

Will Verification: Determine if the deceased left behind a will. If no will exists, an application to the court is necessary to appoint a personal representative to manage the deceased’s affairs. 

Identifying Key Personnel: Ascertain and inform the designated liquidators or executors. 

Last Wishes: Familiarize yourself with the deceased’s final wishes, including any pre-existing funeral, burial, cremation, or organ donation plans. 

Death Registration: Ensure the death is registered with the provincial government. 

Institutional Notifications: Inform institutions like Service Canada, CPP/QPP, employer pension administrators, Veterans Affairs Canada, financial institutions, utilities companies, and landlords. 

Cancellation of Documents: Cancel the deceased’s SIN card, provincial health card, passport, and driver’s license. 

Probate Consideration: Determine if probate should be applied for. 

Document Collection: Secure copies of all crucial financial and non-financial documents, including deeds of major assets, life insurance policies, contracts, mortgages, and loans. 

Tax Aspects of Death 

Tax Returns:

For the Deceased: File the final tax return, which should include all income earned from January 1 until the date of death, as well as any accrued gains and the value of any RRSP/LIRA/RRIF/LIF. 

For the Estate: The estate’s tax return should include income earned and capital gains realized during its taxation year. 

Filing Deadlines: 

For the individual:

  • Death between January 1 to October 31: April 30 of the following year. 
  • Death between November 1 to December 31: 6 months after death. 
  • If death occurred before the standard April 30 deadline and the return for the previous year hasn’t been filed: 6 months after death. 

For the estate:

  • Filing Deadlines: 90 days after the taxation year-end date. 

Asset Identification

Asset Identification: Be vigilant about locating assets such as: 

  • Investments in private and public company shares, partnerships, and life insurance. 
  • Real estate, artwork, jewelry, rare books. 
  • Intangible assets like copyrights, patents, and trademarks. 
  • Digital assets, including cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens. 
  • Other assets like Aeroplan points, jointly held assets, and assets located overseas. 

Seek Expert Guidance 

The responsibilities following a death are numerous and can be overwhelming. While this guide offers a comprehensive overview, each situation is unique. For personalized advice and assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here to support you during these challenging times. 


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Kerr Financial Group was formed in 1979 for the purpose of assisting individuals to maximize their personal financial resources, alleviate their financial and retirement concerns and simplify the administration of their affairs.

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