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What happens if something happens to your Executor?

If the person named Executor in your Will is unable or unwilling to act, or if something happens to them, the situation is typically addressed through the legal system. Here are some common scenarios and the usual steps taken in Ontario, Canada:

Named Alternate Executor: In many Wills, there is a provision for an alternate or successor Executor. If your primary Executor is unable to act, the alternate Executor steps in to fulfill the responsibilities outlined in the Will. We strongly suggest naming an alternative.
Court Appointment: If there is no named alternate Executor, or if the alternate Executor is unable or unwilling to act, the court may appoint an Executor. This individual is usually someone with a close relationship to the deceased or who has a legal or financial background. The court will consider the best interests of the Estate and the wishes of the deceased in making this appointment.
Renunciation: Sometimes, a named Executor may choose to renounce their role, even if they are able to fulfill it. This could be due to personal reasons, a change in circumstances, or a desire to avoid the responsibilities associated with being an Executor. In such cases, the alternate Executor or a court-appointed Executor would step in.
Public Administrator: In the absence of named Executors or if the named Executors are unable to act and no alternate Executor is named, the court may appoint a public administrator or trustee to manage the Estate. This is typically a last resort and is more common when no family members or friends are willing or able to act as Executors.

It’s crucial to review and update your Will periodically, especially if there are changes in your relationships or if your named Executor’s circumstances change. If the Executor is unable to act due to incapacity, death, or other reasons, it’s advisable to consult with a legal professional to navigate the appropriate steps to ensure the proper administration of your Estate. Keep in mind that laws and procedures can vary, so it’s essential to seek advice specific to the jurisdiction, in this case, Ontario.

We were inspired to discuss this subject as we have had several clients who have wanted to only name one Executor. This can mean that your wishes may not be implemented as you wish and sometimes there is extra expense involved when an outsider is appointed and has limited knowledge about what your wishes were. So, we do insist where possible on having an alternate Executor and often someone younger to try to ensure that you are protected.

If you need any help, feel free to reach out at Peter@smartwills.ca

Read our Comprehensive Guide to Succession Planning for Business Owners

Justice Ontario Succession Reform Act

Want more information?

Are you interested in a consultation with Peter R. Welsh?
Contact me at Peter@SmartWills.ca
By telephone 416-526-3121
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This material is for general information and educational purposes only. Information is based on data gathered from what we believe are reliable sources. It is not guaranteed as to accuracy, does not purport to be complete and is not intended to be used as a primary basis for investment decisions.