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Monday, October 7, 2013

Is your lawyer pressuring you to name him or her to a position of trust in your will?

I came across this interesting article by Karen Brady on a site called www.legacyplannerblog.com. In the article, Ms. Brady talks about lawyers who insert themselves into their clients' wills as executors, sometimes without even telling the clients. Click here to read the article.

Perhaps I live a sheltered life, or perhaps things are just different in Canada, but I've yet to see a will in which a lawyer named himself or herself as executor without telling the client. However, I have definitely seen clients who have told me that a lawyer has "strongly suggested" that he or she is the best choice of executor.

In my experience, lawyers generally don't want to be executors for people. This is for a few reasons, ranging from lack of time right through avoidance of potential liability.

Having said that, I have met one or two lawyers over the years who not only accept all offered executorship appointments, but they actively seek them out. I can think of one lawyer I know who is named as the executor in several dozen wills. As Ms. Brady discusses in her article, you have to wonder whether it's really the best choice for the client to be advised by someone who is clearly looking for this type of appointment for personal financial reasons.

If you meet with your lawyer and ask to be told ALL of the options for potential executors, you should expect to hear that appointing a lawyer is one of your choices. This is quite different from having someone trying to talk you into naming them. Fortunately lawyers who take that position are few and far between, but should you run into one, get a second opinion.

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