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Naming an Executor

Choosing a person to be responsible for looking after your estate is an important decision.

You can name an Executor who is also a beneficiary; in fact it is not uncommon to name your main beneficiary as your Executor also.

Naming an Executor

Carrying out the terms of your Will may be a short-term or a long-term job. If you like, you can name more than one Executor to act together as joint Executors. Naming too many joint Executors, however, can make the Executors' duties difficult to carry out. You can also name one or more alternate Executors. An Alternative Executor can act as your Executor if the first one you named cannot act as your Executor.

You can choose anyone you want as Executor. Some people choose their spouse, a family member or friend, while others choose a professional, such as a trust company. If you are planning on naming a friend or family member, it is a good idea to discuss the matter with them first.

Your Executor should be a responsible individual who is willing to carry out your wishes as stated in your Will.

Your Executor must be able to make decisions on the advice of lawyers, accountants and other professionals after considering the advantages and disadvantages of each decision. Naming an undischarged bankrupt can be problematic as they may not be able to effectively carry out all the duties required of an Executor.

You may want to choose an Executor who lives in your province - it will generally be more convenient and less costly. If you name more than one Executor, it may be more convenient if they live in the same general area. You may want to choose an Executor who is younger than you, but old enough to be responsible and make all the necessary decisions. Your Executor should be trustworthy and competent.

By law, Executors under a Will and court-appointed Administrators have a right to be paid for their services. Fees are discussed in more detail here.

Information for Your Executor

If you have entered into a prepaid funeral services contract, make sure to make a copy of the contract available to your Executor. You and your Executor may also be interested in the information under A Death in the Family.

Your Executor takes responsibility for your affairs immediately upon your death. You can help your Executor by preparing a letter detailing matters such as...

  • your plans for burial or cremation
  • where your bank accounts are held
  • life insurance policies that you have
  • where other important documents are kept
  • instructions concerning different matters relating to your estate

If you have plans for your burial or funeral, it is important to discuss these in detail with your Executor and close relatives. Your Executor is responsible for arranging your funeral and burial. While your Executor is not bound by your funeral wishes, it is rare that your wishes would be ignored. But it is important to discuss these matters with your Executor. Just stating your preferences in your Will may not be enough because your Will may not be located or read until sometime after your death.

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About PLEA

PLEA gratefully acknowledges our primary core funder the Law Foundation of Saskatchewan for their continuing and generous support of our organization.