Selecting an Appropriate Executor…Issues to Consider

Posted: March 08, 2010 | Last Updated: June 01, 2016

Posted: March 8, 2010
Written by: Caroline Kiva

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Being an executor is an honour”?  Before you bestow this honour on one of your family members or friends, you really need to consider whether they are the appropriate choice for the task at hand.  Selecting an inappropriate executor may hold up the administration of the estate.

Choosing an executor may depend heavily on the assets of the Will maker, the needs of the beneficiaries and the gifts made in the Will.  If the Will maker has been organized and the assets are straightforward, selecting a family member may be a good choice.  However, if the assets are complex, the Will establishes testamentary trusts, the beneficiaries have special needs or have extenuating circumstances and generally, the family dynamics are complicated, you may wish to consider an objective third party who will not be influenced by demanding beneficiaries.  A corporate or professional executor may just be the solution.

A corporate or professional executor will not be emotionally invested in the estate or the beneficiaries and have the expertise and knowledge to deal with a wide variety of assets. 

Keep in mind, that any executor is entitled to charge a fee for carrying out their duties.  Do not assume that a family member will forgo the fee because they are related.  If the duties are daunting and complex, there is a higher likelihood that a fee will be charged.  However, this does not guarantee that the duties will be carried out any quicker.

Other considerations for selecting an executor may include, the age, health, and location of the executor.

Remember, it is always best to ask your potential executor in advance, if they are willing to accept the appointment.  Be honest about your circumstances.  And always consider an alternate executor, just in case the primary executor is unwilling or unable to carry out their duties.

For further information, click here to contact an Estate Planning lawyer.