All About Estates

Politicians and executors: two sides of the same coin

This Blog was written by Liz Bozek,

The recent claim filed by Renata Ford challenging the executors of the estate of her late husband, Rob Ford, and the subsequent election of her former brother-in-law (and the subject of that claim), Doug Ford, got me thinking about some of the similarities between being a politician and acting as an estate trustee.

  • Credentials – interestingly, there are no mandatory credentials for either role, although one hopes that, at a minimum, the individual holding either position has good moral character and sound financial acumen, can exercise good judgment, is responsible and organized, and will understand the duties and responsibilities for his or her role. We can only hope that these credentials are fully taken into account when the decision is made to appoint individuals into these roles!
  • Accountability– being a politician and acting as an executor compels one to act as a representative for others. Unfortunately, some may try to use their position of power for his or her own benefit, or be subject to outside forces that impact their decision-making: an executor may be influenced by emotions or grievances, while a politician may be constrained by the goals of their political party. There is recourse, though – a court-ordered passing of accounts or order for removal of an executor, and impeachment or the loss of the next election for a politician.
  • Support – the success of the incumbent in either role will likely hinge on the support he or she has from others. An executor’s success in administering an estate may be influenced by his or her relationship with his or her co-executors, as well as the beneficiaries. Similarly, much of what a politician will be able to accomplish in his or her tenure in office will be determined by the strength of the majority of the governing party, and even the ongoing support of the constituents.

Both roles may appear to be incredible honours, but I think those appointed in either role would agree that many more headaches and hassles will arise in the role then they originally bargained for.

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About Paul Fensom
Scotiatrust offers a full range of estate, trust and philanthropic advisory services designed to meet a client’s personal objectives and designed to evolve across a variety of life stages and financial events. Email: paul.fensom@scotiawealth.com

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