Being an executor or estate trustee is a very important role. It can also be a difficult one. Even when dealing with a simple will, you have to:
- File a number of legal forms
- Sort out taxes
- Collect money from any life insurance
- Pay off any debts.
- Who can be my executor?
You can choose anyone of sound mind (good mental health) over the age of 18. If your will is complex, it may make sense to pay an expert, such as a lawyer. If you cannot afford a lawyer, you may have to ask someone close to you who would be willing to help without charging fees. Some people name the same person they picked for their Power of Attorney.
You can choose more than one executor. Examples: You could name all your children to be co-executors, or your spouse and your lawyer. You may also want to name a back-up executor in case your first choice can't do the job for some reason.
Always make sure your executor knows where to find your will and your financial records.
How will my executor be paid?
Your estate will cover most of their expenses as they do their job. Executors can also ask for a fee. A typical fee is about 5% of what your estate is worth.
Example: If you have a $50,000 estate, your executor would receive $2,500.
Often family members or close friends don't charge a fee, but that's not a reason to choose them. They still might not be the right person for the job. The person may know very little about wills, and they may not know where to get help. Before you pick an executor, make sure they can really do the job.
Learn more now: Should I choose someone close to me, or an expert to be my executor?
Content in this section is provided in partnership with the Investor Education Fund, a non-profit organization promoting financial literacy to Canadians. To find out more go to GetSmarterAboutMoney.ca.