As with most things in life, estate administration is far easier when advance planning and communication are involved. Largely, the burden to do this planning and have these conversations lies with the person whose estate is in question.
When someone asks another person to serve as executor to his or her estate, it is often a critical moment. On one hand, the discussion could be just a quick yes or no. But, ideally, there will be important questions and information shared when someone agrees to execute a will. This includes the sharing of documents and details connected with the estate.
Executors should ask for a copy of the will or, at minimum, clear information on where it is located and how to access it. They should also be made aware of the details therein, including who will inherit property, any co-executors and the details around any specific or unusual requests. The location of essential papers like a property deed or car title should also be noted at this time.
Understanding specific requests, especially those that might be unusual or surprising to loved ones, is particularly important for executors. Having these details in advance can allow for better communication with beneficiaries, a smoother administration process and, in some cases, can prevent estate litigation. It is important to work with an Ontario estate lawyer to support this process at every stage, including and especially if conflict arises during administration.