All About Estates

The soft issues matter – Choosing an Executor

This blog was written by Justin Ecclestone, Estate and Trust Consultant with Scotia Wealth Management 

As someone who works for a trust company, much of my day is spent educating our bank’s clients about the estate and trust planning services we can offer. In many cases, clients see the value in selecting a trust company to administer their estate to help address an obvious need. Some of these scenarios include; those with no spouse and no kids, those with no children in the province or in the country, those with children who may not be suitable candidates in mom or dad’s minds. These are the obvious ones but there are many other aspects to consider.

  1. Does your executor have time?

There may be an obvious candidate amongst the children who mom and dad want to appoint. Their availability as far as time should be thought through. The selected child may have kids and a family of their own not to mention a full-time job. They may even run their own business. It is important to discuss the process with them in depth and the expected time commitment associated with the role.

  1. Family Dynamics

This is a big one. It may be unsettling to your other kids if they are not selected as the executor and their sibling is. It can cause strain on the siblings’ relationships which no parent would want. The executor is in frequent contact with the beneficiaries and it can become stressful as everyone eagerly awaits probate. A death in any family is difficult and it can be more difficult with the added stress of executor/beneficiary dynamics.

  1. Grief

Parents tend to overlook the grieving process that their children will go through when mom/dad dies. An executor does not have time to deal with the death with all the work that needs to be done once death occurs. This should be talked about much more frequently as part of the estate planning discussion.

  1. Age

I continue to see an interest in appointing a sibling or a parent as the executor. Often the testator is similar in age or even younger than the appointed executor. There should be a suitable alternate appointed to plan for order of death. If your executor is not alive at the time of your passing who will act?

 

There are many other aspects to consider when selecting the executor. These are some considerations that we ask our clients to turn their minds to as part of their estate planning update.

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