When you pass away, your executor is tasked with carrying out all the instructions you leave in your last will. In addition, they are responsible for administering, protecting, and distributing your estate among your beneficiaries. An executor’s duties require a significant amount of effort, time, and the ability to make responsible and sound decisions. Therefore, you need to appoint someone trustworthy and reliable to protect the interests of your family.
Who can be an executor of your will?
Anyone aged 18 years or above can be an executor of your will.
Executors can also be persons named in your will as beneficiaries. It’s common for people to name their spouses, common-law partners, or children as executors in their wills. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they have to be written out of the will.
What to look for when choosing your executor
When choosing your executor, it’s crucial to look for someone based on the following factors.
It’s essential to choose someone who can handle your family dynamics and be diplomatic while at it, particularly if you have a conflicted family or are transferring wealth from one generation to another. They must exercise diligence, and their actions and decisions must be for the sole interest of your estate.
Your executor must be impartial with all your beneficiaries and be transparent by providing the beneficiaries with the same information concerning the estate.
Choose someone you’re sure will be able to take up the role once you die and manage your estate according to your final wishes. This will help your family avoid the confusion that comes with an executor rejecting the role.
Consider naming a second executor in case your first choice refuses to take up the role. For example, you could name a family member or friend as your first executor and a lawyer or trust company as your backup executor. You can also name more than one executor.
Your executor must also be able to show how each asset was managed. To avoid a situation where your executor mismanages your money, appoint someone who has their financial affairs in order.
Your executor may need to be knowledgeable about finances, legal issues, taxes, or at least know how to hire help in cases where your finances are complex. If you own a business, you might want to consider appointing someone with specific corporate experience as your executor.
Choose an executor who lives reasonably close to you. It makes it easier for your family to access them and for the executor to access your assets. It can also be difficult for a non-local to understand the tax and legal issues in your area.
The role of an executor takes a lot of time and effort. It can be challenging for busy people to fulfill this role. Choose someone who will have the time to meet required deadlines.
Choose someone who will likely survive you. Your executor should be in good health and preferably younger than you.
What will happen if you don’t have an executor?
If you don’t name an executor in your will or the one you choose rejects the role, and there isn’t a backup executor, a probate court will appoint someone to serve as your executor.
When the court appoints someone to serve as your estate’s executor, it’s often a close family member. However, the person appointed to serve must formally accept the role, and they always have the option of rejecting the offer.
Do you need an estate lawyer in Oakville?
At Anna Gurevich Law, we can help you draft or update your will to ensure your final wishes are clear.
Call us today to schedule a consultation.