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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The executor's challenge

An executor is required by law to be impartial between beneficiaries of an estate. But what if the will says that the executor should put up a fight against any beneficiary who challenges the will? Then what the heck is an executor supposed to do? How is an executor supposed to be impartial while also upholding the will? This quandary was addressed in an article from Canadian Lawyer Magazine. Click here to read the article online at


  1. Hi Lynne,
    My father died a month ago, and I am the sole executor of the estate which consists of a house and some financial assets (my two siblings were originally also named executors but they have renounced to streamline the process because they live in different parts of the province). I have also moved into the house, as a first step in relocating to the area. We are still gathering documents to file for probate, which should be ready in the next few weeks. We have been told the granting of probate should take about three months after filing. My siblings would like to put the house on the market as soon as probate is granted, while I would like to live in the house for about a year, to give myself time to "land" and take more time in cleaning out the house and getting it ready for sale. My brothers are concerned that my staying in the house after probate is granted will entail unnecessary complications and expense. I would welcome your comments about the pros and cons.

    1. Let's talk about rights. You are not entitled to live in your father's house for a year. As an executor, your duty is to wrap up the estate in a quick, efficient manner. The beneficiaries have a right to expect that from you.

      Now that the legal positions have been established, let's see what can be arranged. You can make an arrangement with the agreement of the other beneficiaries if you are prepared to pay all expenses (mortgage, taxes, upkeep, insurance, power, water etc) while you are there. Having you live there rather than selling or renting it is a financial loss to the estate, so don't be surprised if they would like you to pay rent. As an executor, you should want a tenant to pay rent to maximize the value of the asset. Get the agreement in writing. Also be prepared to assume the responsibility for anything that happens to the house during that year, such as damage you might cause, vandalism, fire, theft due to burglary, etc.

      You are all family and it sounds as if you are communicating openly about the estate, so I am optimistic that you will be able to reach an agreement that suits everyone.


  2. My situation is similar to the brother is the one in the house but is broke, so he cannot afford to pay us rent..can we force him out and get someone in who can pay us rent?
    My brother is the executor He has received money in the year he has been there, including 20000 dollars for insurance for a flooding he caused(of which he is keeping 4 thousand) How can my two sisters and myself stop this?

  3. I should add that my brother was the caregiver for my mother for several years and lived with her in the house up until her passing in August of last year.


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