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Carrying Out Final Wishes

Estate administration: How to know if one is up to the task

Some people are born to greatness; others have greatness thrust upon them, a famous saying has it. In a sense, the same is true for estate executors. Most executors know well in advance that they have been chosen for the job, while others may not find out until the testator's wishes are revealed after his or her passing. Estate administration in British Columbia can be a major undertaking, and anyone chosen to be the executor may be forgiven for taking a moment to consider whether he or she wishes to accept the responsibility.

Even if it's known that a person is going to be the executor, he or she may not feel up to the task. If the will was made a long time ago, the chosen person may no longer be physically or mentally capable of performing the duties. Overwhelming feelings of grief could also be enough to prevent a person from being a capable administrator. A change in the makeup of the family, such as a divorce or remarriage, can change the family dynamic, and the appointee may no longer feel comfortable in the role of executor.

If one's personal circumstances have changed, accepting the role may no longer be possible. Administering an estate is rather like having a part time job; there are many tasks to complete, and they may be spread out over many months. Someone who has taken on a larger role at a job since the original appointment may not have time available to settle an estate. Also, if that person has moved away from the area, or is about to, administering the estate may be impractical, as there will likely be much that has to be taken care of in and around the testator's home city or town.

There is a lot to consider before accepting the task of estate administration as an executor. Having a conversation with a lawyer may help a person to make up his or her mind. A lawyer who has worked with many executors in British Columbia may have the answers any potential executor is looking for.

Source: sunlife.ca, "How to choose an executor", Susan Yellin, Accessed on April 24, 2017

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