Please join us on November 17th, 2020 at 7 PM as we host Jacqueline Power, Assistant Vice-President of Tax and Estate Planning with Mackenzie Investments to share with our guests the important role of an executor in the administration of your estate. We suggest that you bring along your own executor as they will learn valuable tips and tricks to save themselves time and money when it comes to your estate. We also encourage you to bring along anyone who’s estate you might be an executor for so that they gain valuable insight into the role and how to avoid some common pitfalls. We are confident that this will be time very well spent.
Do I need an Executor?
Let me share with you a personal story of what can happen if you pass away without naming someone to be your executor, and we’ll leave the answer to the end.
A very good friend of my Dad’s, we’ll call him Harry, passed away last August (2019). Harry was a very quiet and reserved man. He had no family around, only a few friends and his work. I had gotten to know Harry over the past few years as he became a client of mind and slowly opened up more and more with each visit. I’d brought up the subject of a legal will and power of attorney documents a few times, but he wasn’t quite there yet.
He died very suddenly and unexpectedly of a major heart attack.
After the police had been through his apartment, they allowed my Dad, who was his closest friend, to go through as well. My Dad searched high and low but couldn’t find any written direction anywhere for how to handle his estate. Once the death certificate was issued, my Dad began the process of petitioning the court to have him buried with his Mom at the Pinecrest Cemetery. Months and months rolled by as my Dad worked with lawyers to try to get anything done. All the while racking up legal fees for the work being done. No body seemed to know who to talk to or what to do and so the process went around in circles.
Over a year later, my Dad has still not been granted permission to act as executor. And because of that, no one has kept him in the loop on what is happening either. One day, after over a year, he decided to go down to the funeral parlor to see if anything had happened to Harry’s body or if they’d buried him already. He found out that in April, due to COVID the order was issued to have him buried in an unmarked grave out in Carp.
No funeral or closure for his friends. No burial next to his Mom where he wanted to be. And that doesn’t even speak to the financial side. His few hundred thousand dollars remains frozen, unable to be touched by anyone. Fees are being racked up to the estate by lawyers and provincial appointees for the decisions being made at this point. And no word yet on whether or not my Dad will ever be able to step in and help get his friend's things squared away.
So, the simple answer is this. Absolutely, yes! Everyone should have a legal will that includes the appointment of an executor. Otherwise, you risk putting any surviving family or friends through a nightmare if something were to happen to you. I’d also urge caution though, as this appointment should not be taken lightly. In many cases appointing someone to become your executor is like committing them to a second full‐time job. It’s a lot of work, and a lot of responsibility. The risk to the executor is huge with very little upside. So be sure you have a conversation with your executor ahead of time so that they are aware of the appointment and what your wishes are. Give them the chance to back out if they wish because this work isn’t for everyone.
If you’d like to learn more about the role of the executor, things to consider when appointing one and how you might be able to help them before anything happens to you, I’d like to invite you to join us for a webinar on
November 17th, 2020 at 7 PM.
All of these items and more will be discussed as we are joined by Jackie Power, Assistant Vice‐President, Tax and Estate Planning with Mackenzie Investments as she shares her insights into the Role of the Executor.
Registration is available here: The Role of the Executor and a free Executor Checklist will go out to each attendee.
Hope to see you there!
Wade Bedard CIM, CEA
Associate Portfolio Manager, Manulife Securities Incorporated