Most executors, when asked if they would ever take that task on again, answer with a resounding “No”. Although honoured when first appointed Executor, many quickly realize they lack the legal know-how to properly administer an Estate when called upon.
Most Canadians are either named as Executor in a Will or have a Will of their own in which they’ve named an Executor. As Executor, certain duties must be performed, within a certain timeframe and in a specific order. Vehicle ownership must be transferred, terminal tax returns filed, taxes paid (including the possibility of capital gains tax), property transferred, accounts closed and accurate records kept. The average estate in Canada takes 18 months to settle. Even a little planning by the testator (writer of the will) now can make a big difference to the executor later when called upon.
“Executors, usually at a very emotional and stressful time in their lives, need to complete a task they have never done—or did once twenty years ago. They are required to find and gather specific documentation, know who to contact and where the government offices are, pay for numerous fees…for many, it is daunting. That’s why we are pleased to be able to provide this important information, information that can save families unnecessary headaches and estate settlement costs” said Kevin Holte, seminar presenter and Assurant Life District Manager for British Columbia.
“It never ceases to amaze me how often a death in the family is the spark that ignites the underlying flame of sibling rivalry or perceived parental favouritism…add money to the mix and the executor can be looking at a Molotov cocktail of stress,” said Holte. “I’ve seen a lot of preventable confusion—just a little bit of preparedness can go a long way in making things easier for the loved ones. For example, I just finished talking with a lady who was in tears—she has spent over a year trying to fix a problem with her late husband’s will that was going to cost her thousands of dollars in probate fees…all because of one little oversight. Had they reviewed the will before he passed away, the oversight would have been caught, and she wouldn’t be facing the difficulties with the courts she is presently facing,” adds Mr. Holte.
“One of the most common mistakes people make is trying too hard to avoid probate fees. People need to be aware of the risks when they joint their home with one of their kids, because sometimes the cure is worse than the disease” adds Mr. Holte. “I think what the funeral homes are doing to educate and empower the public is very commendable.”
John & Lynda are enthusiastic about the seminar’s content. “It is important for the average person to walk away from the seminar with some real understanding and tangible steps they can take. That’s exactly what these seminars provide, and they are presented in simple English so even the most ‘rookie’ testator or executor will benefit.”
Everyone is invited to attend. Topics include an understanding of the executor’s legal responsibilities along with a realistic expectation of costs and timelines, time-saving and money-saving tips, funeral pre-planning information as well as cremation options. “The goal is ensure everyone ends up with a grateful executor and not a frazzled one,” is how Mr. Holte summarizes the seminar.
The events will be held on January 24 at Cherished Memories in Fernie. RSVP (250)423-7944 or firstname.lastname@example.org. and on January 25 at McPherson’s, in Cranbrook. RSVP (250)426-3132 or email@example.com.
Both events are hosted by Familyside and Purple Shield.