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Friday, February 26, 2010

Naming your parents as your executors

I'm often asked who is the "right" person to name as someone's executor, and the best answer I can give is that it depends on who is available in that person's life who is able and willing to take on the job.

Married people and those in common law relationships usually name each other as their executor. Even when they do, they will be asked to name an alternate who will act as executor when both of them have passed away. Who should a single person appoint? Friends, siblings, a trust company, their parents?

As a general rule, you should appoint someone of your generation or younger to be your executor. There are good reasons for this.

In the natural course of events, your parents, being a generation older than you, should pass away before you do. That being the case, it doesn't really make sense to ask them to do a task that won't be required until you pass away.

Another reason for not appointing someone a generation older than you as your executor is the possibility that your executor could lose mental capacity. What if, at the time you pass away, your parent is living in long-term care and can't look after your estate? Who will be in charge then?

Sometimes a parent is appointed "for now" until you are able to think of a better alternative. While this can be a short-term solution, it does mean that you must remember to change your Will at some time in the future. If your plans become derailed because you become ill or injured to the extent that your mental capacity is diminished, you may not get a chance to change it.

When planning your Will, take the time to carefully think over your choice of executor, and discuss it with your estate-planning lawyer. He or she may have ideas you hadn't thought of.

1 comment:

  1. Lynne, can you recommend a good estate planning lawyer to contact for compiling a will? We live in Calgary, Alberta. Can you send your recommendation to Thank you for your help.
    Cheryl Hanson


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