The Role of an Executor*

One of the important decisions you’ll make as you prepare your will is deciding on who will serve as executor. That’s because an executor is responsible for ensuring your intentions for your estate are carried out faithfully and in compliance with the law. This involves identifying, securing, valuing and distributing all of your assets, wherever they may be located—a labour and time intensive task that can yield unexpected and unwanted surprises. Legal requirements must be met, forms and tax returns need to be filed, administrative documents created and communicated, all within set deadlines. Distributing assets too early, too late, or without the proper formalities can cause any number of tax and family issues and even personal liability for the executor. Complex family dynamics can also play an important role in shaping the settlement of an estate. Having to manage requests from beneficiaries can often add to the challenges faced in the course of the estate administration, testing relationships.

*Liquidator in Québec.

Choosing an Executor

Consider the skillset and availability of the person you would like to appoint as your executor. Are they detail oriented, able to inform themselves of the legal obligations of the appointment, adept at meeting deadlines? Will they be capable to do the job at the relevant time? Are they physically close enough to inventory assets, file documents, etc.? Can they support and manage family relationships positively?

If your chosen executor resides in a different province or outside Canada, your estate may be subject to additional costs, the most significant of these potentially being the cost to post a bond or having to pay additional taxes to a foreign jurisdiction where your executor lives. All of these are important factors to consider in your choice.

If you don’t have someone you feel can effectively take on the role, there are more options available today than ever before.

How we can help

When appointed executor in a will, our trust services division assumes responsibility for ensuring the professional, proper administration of the estate. Our services include:

  • applying for probate
  • securing property
  • arranging for valuation of assets
  • identifying creditors
  • informing beneficiaries
  • keeping records
  • ensuring taxes are calculated properly and paid on time
  • managing assets during the estate period
  • paying beneficiaries

If you are named executor and require professional expertise, our Executor Support Services can take over the administrative responsibilities of settling the estate. Our dedicated team of trust professionals are here to take the weight off your shoulders by dealing with the settlement process from beginning to end. We will lessen your stress, save you time, and reduce the risks you face over the course of the estate settlement process.

*Raymond James Trust Services are offered by Raymond James Trust (Canada) in the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario, and by Raymond James Trust (Québec) Ltd. in the province of Québec. Both entities are wholly owned subsidiaries of Raymond James Ltd. Trust Services are not covered by the Canadian Investor Protection Fund.