BMO Financial Group

BMO Financial Group

November 09, 2011 08:00 ET

REPEAT-BMO: Boomers Underestimate Role of Estate Executor

- Family trumps friends as executors (85 per cent and 7 per cent): spouses are most often appointed (40 per cent) and only one per cent have appointed a trust company as the executor of their own will

- Only 35 per cent of Canadian Boomers would seek the assistance of a professional if appointed as an executor

- Almost half of Canadian Boomers appointed as executor have experienced administrative complications

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 9, 2011) - BMO Financial Group today announced the results of a study revealing that the majority of Canadians (85 per cent) would appoint family over friends as the executor of their will. However, with executor responsibilities consisting of nearly 50 tasks including tax, inheritance, and family property laws, many may not appreciate the complexities that come with this duty.

The study found that, if appointed as executor, the majority of Canadians (65 per cent) would not, or are not sure if they would hire a professional to assist them.

The study also revealed, however, that those who have experienced being an executor (41 per cent) have encountered the following:

  • Administrative issues/complications (47 per cent)
  • Emotional issues/complications (31 per cent)
  • Legal issues/complications (26 per cent)

"Being appointed as the executor of a loved one's estate can be a daunting duty that involves an overwhelming number of tasks, some of which can be highly complex," said Sara Plant, Chief Executive Officer, BMO Trust Company. "Not only can it be an emotional period, but executors are often expected to dedicate a lot of time and take on a lot of responsibility that is often best left to a professional."

The study also found that only one per cent of Canadians over 45 have appointed a trust company as the executor of their will. Ms. Plant noted that those who are thinking about appointing a family member or friend as their executor should think it through before making the final decision.

"When it comes time to appoint your executor, it is important to appreciate the amount of work you will be asking the executor to undertake, especially if they are a family member or friend rather than a professional," said Ms. Plant. "People often underestimate the level of involvement and responsibility it requires to carry out the directions of a will."

If you are appointing an executor, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Understand the commitment: Ensure the executor you appoint is equipped to handle the time commitment and complexities of the tasks at hand.
  • Don't surprise your executor: Determine in advance if your chosen executor is willing to act when the time comes.
  • Location, location: If your executor lives outside of your province, make sure there are no legal or administrative complexities involved in being able to manage your estate.
  • Stay up to date: Make sure you revisit your will every few years and update the executor, if necessary.
  • Keep an open mind: Remember that a professional service can be of great assistance to the executor, especially if the estate is complex.

Additionally, the survey found that forty-two per cent of respondents know they have been appointed to act as an executor in the future.

If you have been appointed executor, keep these tips in mind:

  • Make a list: There are a large number of tasks involved in being an executor. For a list of the steps involved, visit the following site:
  • Find relief: If you are struggling or are finding it overwhelming, remember that there are professionals that can help navigate through the paperwork and duties at hand.

The online survey was conducted by Leger Marketing among 1002 Canadians, 45 years of age or older, who hold investible assets (including real estate) worth $500,000 or more, between July 6 to July 15, 2011.

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