Writing your Ontario Will is just the first step. Appointing an executor of Wills ensures your Will instructions are followed and property and possessions distributed the way you planned after you pass on.
Do I Need an Executor for My Will?
You certainly do. If you’re an Ontario adult, 18 or older, with real property like a condo, home or cottage, an executor can ensure your estate goes to loved ones or friends if you pass away.
You may have a lot or few personal possessions. Drafting a professional Will tells your next-of-kin and those close to you what you would like to do with your possessions after you pass on. You keep the original for safekeeping, in a bank or personal safety deposit box. Your executor and closest family or friend get copies in case your original can’t be immediately found.
Your executor represents you in court if legal action is required to protect your financial interests or you were bankrupt, insolvent or being sued. They answer questions from next-of-kin. And they talk to banks, investment advisors and others to obtain your accounts and financial records.
What is Executor of a Will?
You may have heard Wills executors called estate trustees or personal representatives. You can give your executor any title you wish. But only your appointee or a court-appointed alternate can manage your personal estate.
- gets your death certificate
- makes funeral, cremation or burial arrangements
- applies for court appointment as your legal representative
- collects and values assets like real estate, jewellery or prized antiques
- pays estate administration taxes
- sells or gives away vehicles
- collects rent or debts you’re owed
- advertises for creditors and pays debts
- invests your money, maximizing your estate’s value
- closes bank and investment accounts
- hires and instructs lawyers, accountants and appraisers
- files your final income taxes
- distributes your estate according to your wishes — executors cannot change your Will
- and passes the accounts, recording their actions for successor executors, beneficiaries and Ontario probate courts.
How to Find an Executor for Wills
You can choose anyone you like, as long as they are 18 or over and mentally capable. Picking an Ontario representative will save time and money. Having integrity, financial skills, being decisive and a good communicator make being an executor easier.
A spouse or adult child who lives with you may have strong feelings about how your possessions are distributed. Avoid conflicts of interest by choosing someone who is less personally involved with you. Trust companies, lawyers or accountants can all be appointed.
Distributing estates is time consuming — it could take a year or more — so be sure your appointee is up for the task. Ask their permission and explain the responsibilities.
Appointing Multiple Executors
Executors are not always willing or able to carry on after you pass on. Making successor or alternate executor appointments in your Will ensures someone is always available to represent you if your executor resigns, dies or is unable to manage distributing your estate.
Axess Law’s Greater Toronto Area Wills and estate attorneys recommend having multiple successor executors for a Will. That means you have only one executor at a time, but alternates who can apply to the court to be appointed if required. If you have multiple Wills, a single executor can be more effective or you can appoint joint executors to work together to administer your estate.
Be wary of appointing executors outside of Canada. The court may require an estate bond or the U.S. Internal Revenue Service or Canada Revenue Agency may impose taxes if you are seen to be a non-resident because your executor is administering your estate from afar.
Paying Your Executor
Executors keep receipts and records of their time and expenses — and investments they made on your behalf to generate revenues for your estate — so they can be compensated by your estate. You can pay an executor any amount you like, although they typically receive around 5% of the value of your estate. Executors can go to court, file their accounts there and ask the court to fix their compensation if beneficiaries disagree with the compensation they request.
Court Challenges to Executors
Occasionally, family members or friends do challenge an executor’s actions or even their appointment. Ontario probate courts usually defer to your Will, but can overturn your choices or executor’s decisions.
When you die, your executor may file an application for a certificate of appointment as estate trustee with a Will in probate court. The judge reviews their application and, provided it is not challenged or they are incapacitated, approves your executor’s appointment. They can now administer your estate.
Family members or others who apply to be executor can be heard by the court. They may even be appointed in place of your executor or the court may question how long distributing the estate is taking and ask the executor to explain their actions.
Either way, you can rest assured your estate is protected by Axess Law’s probate lawyers after you are gone.
Adding Power of Attorney to Personal Wills
You save when you add a power of attorney (POA) to a personal Will at the same time. Axess Law’s Ontario Wills and Estate lawyers charge just $199.99 and up for a last Will and testament or $249.99 and up per person if you also make a POA for property or POA for personal care. A power of attorney without a Will is only $69.99 or $99.99 per person if you request both POAs for property and personal care.
Make a Personal Last Will and Testament
Making a personal Will is fast and affordable at Axess Law. Our experienced Ontario Wills attorneys make virtual video conference calls 7 days a week, day or evening, at your convenience. We can meet with you at any of our Greater Toronto Area law offices nearby for in person legal services. Use our easy online booking form or call the Axess Law 1-647-479-0118 lawyer line to make an appointment. Toll free calls accepted at 1-877-402-4207.
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