When sitting down with a client to draft an estate plan, one of the most important elements is choosing an executor or estate trustee. The executor is the person that is appointed, through your will, to administer the estate. But what does this really mean?
The executor is in charge of wrapping up your affairs, applying for probate (we call it applying for a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee in Ontario), paying debts, filing tax returns, distributing your estate to beneficiaries, and holding funds in trust for minor beneficiaries. Most people choose a spouse or children to fulfill this role. The choice ends up being more of an emotional than practical one, however, this is one area where you should be making this decision with your head, not your heart.
Jonathan Chevreau’s recent blog post on the Financial Post (http://opinion.financialpost.com/2011/11/09/its-not-easy-being-an-executor-almost-50-tasks-poll-finds/) cites a survey about how people go about choosing their executors. It goes on to link to a BMO list of exectuor tasks (http://www.bmo.com/estate/Task_List_Feature_Sheet_E_v1.pdf) to illustrate the importance and complexity of being an executor.
Definitely something to consider when creating your own will and estate plan. Contact us for more information.