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My mother passed in December of 2019. On Jan. 26, 2020 I was the last of the four kids to sign off on the disbursal of funds. In the telephone meeting with the Estates department that day, I was told a period of a few weeks would be all that was required to close out and disburse my mother’s estate. With this global health crisis, I am increasingly concerned that the lifetime of savings by my parents is being severely depleted in the current market, and my questions are: are my fears justified? At what point is the final value of my mother’s LIRA and RRIF accounts determined for disbursement value to the beneficiaries? Is it a set time after her death, and a set time after the disbursement arrangements have all been made? Or is the estate still an active investment and potentially losing its value over all this time while probate is held up in a locked-down justice system, unable to process the final documentation needed to close out the value of the investments?


Dear Andrew,

I’m sorry about your mother passing.

The day that she passed her registered accounts are deemed as being deregistered and taxable as income in the year in which she dies. Any and all assets that have a change in value, up or down, after her date of death are taken by her estate. Once the will has been recognized by the court as the final will and the probate has been issued, the administrator has the authority to give direction for the assets. It will then decide whether or not to arrange to sell the assets or not.

Once the assets are valued and liquidated the disbursements can be made after necessary paperwork is completed and acknowledged by the beneficiaries. All debts including taxes must be covered first.

As for how the processing time impacts the value - this is not taken into consideration. Depending on approval by the administrator, you can ask about receiving all or part of your portion of what is referred to as “in kind”. In other words, you can opt to take some or part of the value you have been left in the form of assets (shares, property, etc.) but that is a discussion you need to have with the administrator.

The estate is still operating as its own entity and can experience gains or losses like your mother would if she were still alive and owner of the assets.

You should talk to a legal expert for more specific advice.

I hope this helps.


Nancy Woods is a Vice President, Portfolio Manager and Investment Adviser with RBC Dominion Securities Inc. Visit her blog, “Nancy’s Notes” at or send her your question to

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