What to do when someone dies in Canada

April 25th, 2013

If you are an estate executor, the spouse, or the next of kin of someone who has recently died, you will find yourself saddled with many administrative tasks.

The sheer number of tasks can be daunting and confusing during an already difficult and stressful time.

To assist you, the following list has been compiled from the government websites we have linked to at the end of this article.

Please note: this does not constitute a complete list of administrative tasks, nor can this list be substituted for the advice of a lawyer. However, it may provide you with a starting point in determining the types of tasks you may need to accomplish.

Death Certificate

You will need to register the death with the provincial or territorial government and obtain a death certificate. This can be done by applying to the government of your province or territory.

Did the deceased have a will?

If so, you may wish to obtain legal advice and/or seek information from the attorney general of your province or territory to determine how to proceed.


Cancel the identification of the deceased person. This usually involves completing various forms and returning the ID to the government office that issued it. Some common types of identification that will need to be cancelled are:

  • Passport
  • Driver’s License
  • Health Card
  • Social Insurance Card


Determine which organizations were providing benefits to the deceased person. You may need to cancel the benefits and/or claim any benefits that the estate of the deceased is entitled to. The Canada Pension Plan, for instance, provides death and survivor benefits for many individuals in Canada. Other plans may include employment pension plans, life insurance, long-term disability plans, veteran’s benefits, worker’s compensation plans, social assistance, and old age security.


Did the deceased own any vehicles? If so, you will need to cancel the insurance for all vehicles and, if necessary, transfer the ownership.

Real Estate

Did the deceased own property? If so, real estate ownership may need to be transferred. You may also need to cancel utilities and/or rental agreements.

Bank Accounts & Credit Cards

Determine where the person had bank accounts and inform the banks of their death. Then file an income tax return on behalf of the deceased person’s estate and cancel any tax credits they may have been receiving. And finally, cancel their credit cards.

Mail Delivery

If the deceased’s home is empty, you may wish to contact Canada Post to have their mail redirected to the estate executor, spouse, or next of kin.


If the deceased had pets, you will need to re-home them.

How can Red Seal Notary be of assistance?

Certified True Copies

In order for estate executors to administer the deceased’s finances, many organizations, such as banks, will require certified true copies (also called notarized copies) of the will and possibly the death certificate or other original financial documents.

Notarized Forms

Financial institutions or insurance companies may ask you to fill out forms and have them notarized. And if you are preparing your own documents to file with the courts, or have been sent documents by an out-of-town or unavailable lawyer, Red Seal Notary can assist you by notarizing your signatures and commissioning affidavits. Please note, however, that notaries cannot provide you with legal advice.

Helpful Links

Government of Canada

  • To cancel passports, click here.
  • For information on handling the deceased’s taxes, click here.
  • For information on Canada Pension Plan (CPP) death and survivor benefits, click here.
  • To cancel social insurance cards, click here.
  • For information on redirecting mail, click here.

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