3 Tips for Choosing an Executor for your Will

Choosing an executor or executors is more complex than you may initially think and is one of the most important decisions you make when you create your will.

Here are 3 tips you should keep in mind when choosing your executor(s):

1. Your executor must be well-versed in managing your affairs and have good knowledge of investments, tax, and financial decision-making.

Many people appoint their spouse, adult children, parents, or close friends to be their executors without considering whether the person(s) they have in mind are well-versed in managing affairs and have good knowledge of investments, tax, and financial decision-making.

Executors are expected to know how to perform the following duties, among others:

  • Find out if any dependant family members have immediate financial needs

  • Arrange for business to continue if needed

  • Arrange for safe storage of personal values and important documents

  • If deceased's home will be vacant, advise police and insurance company and check property frequently

  • Ensure there is appropriate insurance coverage on estate's assets

  • Cancel telephone, memberships, subscriptions, credit cards, professional memberships, driver's license, etc.

  • Open bank account for the estate and obtain valuation of all of the assets of the deceased as of date of death

  • Determine adjusted cost base for tax purposes of each capital property

  • Apply for CPP death benefit

For a comprehensive list of duties an executor must know, please check out this fact sheet by the Bank of Montreal.

2. Consider appointing an Estates Professional, appointing more than 1 Executor, and/or appointing a back-up executor.

If you believe that your estate is too complex for your family or friends to handle, you may consider appointing an estates professional, like a lawyer or trust company, as an executor.

You may also consider appointing more than 1 executor, such as a family member and a lawyer or trust company as co-executors.

You may also want to appoint a back-up executor in case one of your appointed executors cannot or is no longer interested in acting as an executor.

3. You should be comfortable with your executor(s).

You should appoint someone you know who will carry out your wishes as listed out in your will. Don't appoint someone you feel you cannot trust or barely know, or appoint co-executors you know won't get along. You want to avoid conflict as much as possible.

Also, don't appoint someone you know does not have enough time to be an executor. Being an executor is a full-time job and requires a lot of patience and knowledge of the topics covered above.

Disclaimer: This blog post is for general information purposes only and is NOT intended to be relied upon for legal advice, or to be construed as legal advice. Please consult with us directly through email (wlo@wdl-law.com) for legal advice about your specific situation.

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