Do you think we need an executor (in Canada)?

My wife and I were talking about this earlier this morning. She was mentioning that we really need to find someone to be an executor. Because of our situation I don’t see a criticality in this.

  1. we are both the youngest in our respective immediate families and, between us and our siblings, will more than likely be the last to go;

  2. we have no children (we’re in our 50s and approaching 60) though we do have some nieces and nephews, to whom we are not leaving anything;

  3. if Ms Velomont goes first then I’ll obviously be still there to deal with our stuff and conversely if I go first;

  4. if we both go simultaneously, then there will be a house or apartment with stuff in it that some authority(ies) will have to deal with (I recognize that this is probably irresponsible in some fashion)

At the same time I don’t want to screw the taxpayers, so what is the right thing to do? We really don’t have anyone to bequeath our stuff to.

Advice and suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thanks

Legal advice is best suited to IMHO.

General Questions Moderator

So who are you leqving your stuff to? Charities/non-profit organizations that you are active with? Then find somebody else who works with them, who you think is a responsible person, and probably somebody younger and likely to outlive you – ask them to be the executor in your will. They’ll probably be glad to do so, given that the charity they support will inherit the benefits.

Or pick one of your younger nieces or nephews who you think is responsible – maybe pick one who’s going into a low-paying service career, like teaching or nursing – and ask them to do it. Normally. your estate pays all expenses of the executor, but you can also leave them a specific sum (a few hundred dollars additional) for serving as executor.


Here is a link to the Canadian Bar Association’s page on the duties of an executor. Look through that and see if it makes you think, “Oh, yeah, maybe it would be a good idea to name an executor now.”

In Illinois (and probably other states here in the U.S., but I am only speaking from my own experience), if you don’t have a lot of assets, it might not be crucial to have an executor. If you have a lot of assets in one or the other’s name, and that person pays the bills normally, one thing to consider is that you might want to have an executor in order to facilitate the process of retitling the assets in the surviving spouse’s name.

Also, if you have a lot of assets, here in the US there are things that you can do with trusts in order to be more tax efficient when one spouse dies; I don’t know if Canada has a similar situation.

If you are in your 50s, it is not too early to consider these things.

Consider that if you are in an accident in which one of you dies, the other may not be able to execute probate.

It sounds like you haven’t written a will: that should be your first step. And if you have items inherited through the family, do leave those items to family.