Tips for Executors

If you have been appointed Executor in a Will, there are a wide range of obligations if you accept the position of Executor.  You can decline to act as Executor by renouncing your Executorship and signing the appropriate documents so that the Alternate Executor may act or so that some other person may apply for the representation grant. If you are Executor, there are a few big “No-No’s” you will want to avoid as you take on this onerous role, both involve tampering with the original Will itself.

  1. Do NOT write on the Will. Seems obvious? In acting for many Estates over the last decade, I have seen it happen. The Executor thinks they are being helpful, but it simply adds another layer of paperwork to the probate application, in the way of explanatory documentation, which can be expensive.
  2. Do NOT remove the staples! Guard the original Will diligently and DO NOT allow anyone else to remove the staples either (unfortunately this does happen when you hand it to others to possibly photocopy, such as the financial institution or insurance company). Again, if staples are removed, it just creates an extra burden on the Executor as they will need to provide an explanation / Affidavit / evidence to the Court as to why the staples were removed, which can be very difficult. The Court has to be satisfied that the Will has not been interfered with.

The safest and best place for the original Will is most often in the vault of the law firm who did the original Will, and we always recommend our client’s Wills are retained in our vault for safekeeping. We register the location of the original Will(s) at Vital Statistics, Wills Registry. The original Will is going to be required for the probate application to Court in any event, so the law firm is an excellent place for safekeeping it.

This is provided as information ONLY; it should NOT be construed as legal advice. You should consult with a lawyer to provide you with specific advice for your own situation. For more information real estate matters or estate planning, and to discuss your specific circumstances, please contact Vanessa DeDominicis on 250-869-1140 or [email protected].  Vanessa practices in the area of Real Estate and Wills & Estates at Pushor Mitchell LLP in Kelowna.

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