Estate Planning – Choosing an Executor
When you are preparing your wills, an important decision you will have to make is who will be named as the executor of your estate. The executor is the person responsible for administering your estate – ensuring that all of your debts are paid, taxes are filed, and the gifts are distributed in accordance with your instructions. Your executors will owe a duty of care to the beneficiaries of your estate, and must act in their best interests.
You can name a single person to act as an executor, or a group of people to act as executors. If you name more than one person to act as executor, it is important that you consider how decisions will be made – will unanimous consent be required, or a simple majority? If you name an even number of executors, how will a deadlock be handled? It is also a good idea to name an alternate in the event your first named executor is unable or unwilling to act at the time of your death.
In Ontario, an executor must be over 18 years old, not be bankrupt, not be convicted of an indictable offense and of sound mind. An executor can also be a beneficiary of your estate. For Canadian income tax purposes, it is advisable to name Canadian residents as executors (or at least a majority of executors). Naming Canadian executors also reduces the likelihood of the court requiring security from the executors to administer the estate.
Selecting an executor is not a decision to be taken lightly, and should be done after careful consideration.
If you would like to discuss your will and estate plan with one of our lawyers, please contact us.
By: LaBarge Weinstein’s Taxation, Tax Planning, and Tax Litigation team.
This blog post is intended to provide general information and does not constitute legal advice. You should consult a lawyer for advice regarding your individual situation.
Every effort has been made to ensure the contents of the blog post were accurate as of the date it was written, however, the law can change and we cannot guarantee that the information remains accurate. In addition, because the comments above are of a general nature, they may not apply for every situation. If you have questions, please contact us and we would be happy to discuss your individual circumstances, and whether there have been any changes to the law that would affect the information presented.