On the death of your spouse or a loved one or friend you may find that you have been named as the Executor (or Executrix) of a Will. The Executor could also be a trusted friend or an advisor or even a trust company. If the deceased did not have a Will or the Will did not name an Executor then the Surrogate or Probate Court will have to be approached and the court will appoint an appropriate person as the representative. This person is called the Administrator and fulfills the same role as the Executor.
Although many family members who are named Executors choose not to be paid, provincial law does allow for reasonable compensation for the Executor. If the Executor is paid, there are guidelines established but the court would have the final say on whether the compensation is appropriate. Any reasonable ongoing expenses incurred to wind up the estate would also be paid. For more information about the role of an Executor, please refer to the Executor's Handbook. To complement the Executor's Handbook with information specific to Quebec, please refer to the Liquidator's Handbook.
Now would probably be a good time to update your own Will and review your own estate arrangements. This Will planning checklist will guide you through various things to consider before making your personal Will. And, since we are living in the digital age, have you ever thought of what would happen to all your digital assets and accounts when you are no longer there to maintain them? To ensure this does not happen, your executor or designated legal representative is going to need a list of all your online identities and instructions on how to handle them. The Digital Estate Planning Guide will help you identity any asset that may require special handling. As well, this estate planning checklist will provide insight to the areas you should give attention to when planning your estate.
Here is a link to a basic Will: Last Will and Testament
A lawyer should be consulted when a Will is being considered. There are legal and family issues that need to be addressed if this route is taken.