Today is a group writing project conducted by a few blogs on the topic of estate planning. I’ve written about The Benefits of a Professional Executor today, but the following bloggers have written articles about estate planning as well please feel free to check them out:
The Quest for Four Pillars wrote: “My last will and testament”
The Million Dollar Journey wrote: “Why you need a will and the basics of estate planning”
The Financial Blogger wrote: “Common mistakes in a will”
Thicken My Wallet wrote: “5 myths about wills”
The Canadian Capitalist wrote: “Getting your wills done through your lawyer”
…and now on to my contribution:
The Benefits of a Professional Executor
When you are creating your will (or updating it) you should probably consider your choice of executor carefully. The job of an executor is not a trivial one and in some cases can be very complex and time consuming. Since many people choose a close and trusted person to fill the role of executor, chances are pretty good that this person will also be emotionally affected by your death as well. The loss of a loved one can affect some more than others, and there is the possibility of impartiality and emotional drain of being in the middle of any potential family quibbles.
An alternative to choosing someone close to you is to hire a professional executor – for example a trust company. They can assign a designated trust officer who has years of experience in settling estates and final affairs in a very efficient, and impartial manner. An alternative arrangement is to ask the trust company to act as co-executor or to provide estate assistance services for the non-professional executor.
I think readers of this blog know me to not usually talk about my employer, but in this case I will make an exception. Scotiatrust is under the umbrella of BNS and provides a wonderful service for our clients through a team of dedicated will and estate planners. As you may know, executors may be entitled to collecting an executor’s fee. In exchange for naming Scotiatrust as executor of the estate, the will and estate planners will assist in the full blown will and estate plan and additionally review it every three years for no other charge than the executor’s fee which they will receive later. (Note – they can work in conjunction with your lawyer in the preparation and execution of the will, and sometimes they have net worth thresholds for this service.)
I’m years away from having a complex estate plan (I’m 30, not married, no kids), but as my situation develops, I would not think twice about engaging a trust company to act as executor for my estate. Asides from the reasons listed above, the trust company has continuity. They will be around when I die. I can’t necessarily say that about any individual I know. To me, paying a professional for this service is money well spent – knowing that my wishes will be carried out with all the i’s dotted and the t’s crossed, and knowing that I wont be leaving potentially onerous amounts of tedious work for a loved one who may not be as financially “involved” as I am.