When writing a will, the testator (the writer) needs to name an executor. But what, exactly, does an executor do in Canada? Executors carry out the provisions of a decedent’s will. But it’s not always easy and it can be emotionally exhausting, so it’s important to choose the right person for the job and to discuss it beforehand with the person to ensure he or she would be up to the task.
More often than not, it is usually the executor who makes all the arrangements for the deceased person’s funeral, although anything in the way of those wishes in a will isn’t legally binding. If family members want something different, it’s up to them to sort it out. If the testator had any dependants or pets, the executor gets the responsibility of ensuring they’re looked after as per the wishes of the deceased.
In addition, an executor needs to pay any outstanding taxes and bills, make sure all beneficiaries of the estate are notified; locate and secure all assets, including property, vehicles, safety deposit boxes and any personal effects. An executor is also the guardian of these assets. These tasks could take quite a while to complete. If the will needs to be — or get court — that’s the executor’s job as well.
If the deceased had any ongoing expenses like cable TV, cell phone, any memberships, internet, etc., the executor is responsible for their cancellation as well as cancelling debit and credit cards. Any place the testator had accounts should also be notified, i.e. banks, brokers, insurance companies. These tasks can be both daunting and stressful.
When the time comes for executors to fulfill their duties in Canada, they may feel overwhelmed and proceed with unsure footing. At this point, the person so appointed might speed up the process with the help from legal counsel. Getting the advice of a lawyer may make an executor’s tasks less intimidating.
Source: What does an executor do?, “findlaw.ca“, Accessed on Jan. 18, 2018