Who should I choose as an Executor?
When having a lawyer draft your Will, you might be asking: who should I choose as an executor? Here are a few helpful considerations to keep in mind when thinking about choosing an executor (also known as a “Personal Representative” in Alberta).
Executors who are based in the same jurisdiction where your estate is located (generally, the province where an individual resides or has property when they pass) are well situated to handle matters related to your estate. This includes major tasks such as dealing with bank accounts, filing for probate, and dealing with Land Titles. In addition, having an executor located in Alberta prevents the court from automatically requiring a “bond” or security from your executor to administer the estate.
Capability & Trust
Think about someone who you trust with the administration of your affairs when you are gone. Being an executor is a big responsibility. This includes carrying out your wishes, but also communicating with beneficiaries, organizing your assets, paying your debts, working with professional advisors like lawyers and accountants, and providing an “accounting” to beneficiaries. Generally, an executor will have a significant degree of control over assets, including bank accounts, real estate and investments. Given their responsibility to carry out your wishes, and the fiduciary nature of their role, it is important to choose a “trustworthy” and “capable” individual to serve as your executor.
Related to the above point, the duties of an executor to administer an estate includes ascertaining your assets and debts, paying off your debts, filing taxes, and accounting to beneficiaries prior to distributing assets. If you have a sizeable estate, this can involve a significant amount of “financial” and “administrative” work including the application of basic record keeping concepts. Consider if your chosen executor has this capacity before appointing someone to this role.
Sometimes clients will feel that the administration of their estate is too complex even for a close family member. In these cases, you may consider appointing a trust company to manage your estate. There is generally a fee associated with doing so, but sometimes an impartial third party has expertise and time that your family members don’t. Third parties can also be more “impartial” if there is a chance for family conflict in the administration of the estate.
When choosing an executor from among your children, consider the matters above as well as potential for conflict or liability amongst your family members. Unless the Will provides for “tie-breaking” rules, co-appointed executors are required to reach consensus on decision making. If you don’t feel your children can achieve this, consider perhaps appointing one executor or consider an impartial party as suggested above.
Choosing an executor is an important task. When you consider the above considerations, you will be well on the road to making the right choice.
Our team at Dalke Law Office are here to assist you with your estate planning and transition journey. We're passionate about our clients and ready to lend a hand where we can. For assistance, please call 403-398-2496 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for an initial consultation.
This blog post is not intended to be relied upon or taken as legal advice or opinion but is of a general nature to highlight matters of interest in this area of law. If you have questions or comments, please contact our office.