Significance of a Declining Real Estate Market for Executors


There has been a lot of speculation recently that Vancouver’s booming housing market may be starting to slow down. Recent reports (such as this Globe and Mail article) suggest that for the first time in years, the balance may finally be shifting in favour of buyers.

A dramatic downturn in the real estate market could be significant for executors. In general, an executor is expected to settle an estate within one year of the death of the deceased (often referred to as the executor’s year). This rule of thumb exists to ensure that the administration of an estate is not unduly delayed, while also giving executors enough time to properly perform their tasks before beneficiaries can demand distributions from the estate. If the executor does not fully administer the estate within a reasonable period of time after the executor’s year has passed, there could be grounds to remove the executor. And if the delay means that some of the estate assets are no longer capable of being realized, this could mean personal liability for the executor.

If the speculations about the housing market are true and a decrease in housing prices is expected, it may take more time for executors to convert estate assets and fully distribute an estate. In order to ensure the estate is administered without undue delay, executors will want to act prudently by taking immediate steps to get property ready for sale and on the market within a reasonable period of time.