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What special powers do executors have?

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Before naming or agreeing to act as an executor, be sure to consider what is involved. Naming co-executors, one of whom is a professional in the field, can be a wise decision.

• An executor carries out the instructions in your will. Co-executors can share the task.

• Provincial laws define what the executor must do, whether they are a friend, relative, professional, or a trust company—however, the will can specify even more extensive powers.

• The executor may have to deal with some or all of the following at an emotional time: funeral homes, beneficiaries, Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), insurance and investment companies, government and business pension departments, real estate agents, lawyers, accountants, appraisers, stock brokers, and business partners.

• They can be empowered to convert the estate to cash or divide assets equally among beneficiaries. They can also make payments to the parent/guardian of a beneficiary under the age of 18.

Where there is life insurance with beneficiaries assigned, monies must be directed as defined in the life insurance contract.

•The executor (especially if inexperienced in legal or financial matters) should know how complex the estate is before agreeing to the task. If necessary, appoint a co-executor who is a professional in this field.

• Have a clear, objective idea of what will be involved before asking someone to be your executor and before agreeing to act as one.



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