Choose an appropriate executor

You are free to choose whomever you wish as executor for your estate. But the decision should be influenced by two significant factors:

  • Their willingness to do the job
  • Their ability to act for you. 

Your executor might be:

  • Your spouse
  • Children who have reached the age of majority
  • A trusted family member, friend or business associate
  • Your lawyer or accountant
  • A trust company

You may also choose co-executors. For example, your spouse and your lawyer might be named co-executors of your estate.

Complex, time-consuming
Executing a person’s estate after death can be a complex and time-consuming task. So it’s not surprising that many Canadians select a trust company, or a legal or accounting firm, to act as their executor, or assist as Agent to the executor. 

They possess much, if not all, of the necessary expertise, suitable resources, and continuity. 
Ask permission first
If you select a family member or friend as an executor, ask their permission before naming them in the role in the will. Many people are not comrtable in this time-consuming and often delicate role. So it’s always best to check first.

If you are asked to be an executor, discuss the matter in detail to see how complex the estate is likely to be. Ask whether the person intends to appoint a professional co-executor to look after all the detail work.

You can then make your decision with full knowledge of what you are obligating yourself to do.

Declining the job
If you are named as an executor without being asked in advance, you have no responsibility to accept the role. You may also decline even if you had previously given permission, perhaps because your health is not good. 

But once you apply and are appointed as executor, you must obtain the permission of the Courts in order to be relieved of your duties.