My parents have asked me to be the executor of their estate. I'm honored that they trust me with this but don't know what's involved. I don't think their estate is very complicated, but I have no idea how much time/effort it could take. Any advice? (BTW, I visit them often but don't live near them.)
As the executor of my parents' estate here are some tips I can offer from my experience. (1) Get duplicate copies of death certificates - you'll need them to close accounts. (2) Know where everything is kept, not just where they bank, but where the keys for the safe deposit box are, etc. My parents had a weird "secret hiding place" where they kept my grandmother's jewelry - fortunately I knew about that, but never could find the keys to the car. (3) All costs have to be paid before you can settle the estate. This is includes rent or mortgage, credit cards, property taxes, medical bills, etc. Hope this helps.
Being an executor can be more difficult than we think. My brother-in-law has been performing this task for my mother-in-law and it has been driving him crazy. I would suggest that you sit down with your parents and get all the relevant financial documents, so you will know the extent of the situation. This can be a full-time job if the estate is even moderately complex. If you need a list of documents, please e-mail me.
Being an executor is a big job. It will feel more or less like a full time job for a few weeks while you get things going. If you want a complete list of duties, I have a list on my blog at http://www.estatelawcanada.com. Always remember to ask for help from those you must deal with, such as bank personnel, land titles staff, etc, as they have lots of experience to share. Also key is keeping accurate, detailed records. If you anticipate disputes with siblings or there are complicated matters to deal with, or if you simply don't have the time to do the job right, remember that you can hire a trust company to do the work for you while you retain the rights and responsibilities of an executor.
Best of luck!
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