Joan Burdeniuk is the Fort St. James Integris Credit Union branch manager and has nearly two decades of financial management experience

Mool Matters: Being an executor – an honour or a burden?

Financial professional Joan Burdeniuk gives some helpful advice on choosing your executor, or becoming one.

Joan Burdeniuk



Often when considering who to ask to be the executor of our estates we default to good friends and close family members.  But is this the best choice?  Being chosen to act as the executor can be both an honour and an obligation, and many of us will accept this request without a full understanding of what is actually involved.

The executor is a person appointed in a will to administer an estate.  As the executor of an estate you are legally responsible for sorting out the finance of the person who died, generally speaking the executor collects the assets of the deceased, pays their debts, and distributes the balance, if any, of the estate according to the directions in the will.

When acting as the executor you owe a duty of care to all persons interested in the estate.  Depending on the complexity of the estate this can be relatively easy or extremely complicated taking years to execute fully.  Below are some of the duties and responsibilities of an executor.

• Locate and read the will and any Codicils.

• Meet with next-of-kin to review funeral arrangements and determine where vital documents, such as insurance policies are.

• Notify all financial institutions, credit card companies, and government agencies of the decedent’s death.

• Set up an estate account for any incoming funds and to pay any bills.

• Determine if probate is required.

• Prepare a complete inventory of estate assets and liabilities, including contents of the safe deposit box.

• Locate all of the estate’s assets and ensure that they are properly protected and insured.  You may need to file a detailed inventory of the assets for probate.

• Pay the estate’s debts and taxes

• Distribute assets.

This is therefore not something that should be entered into lightly. Before saying yes, consider the following:

• Relationship/Objectivity – The loss of a loved one is exceptionally difficult.  Emotions are high as heirs deal with their grief and the executor must be able to deal with difficult issues in a way that preserves harmony among all concerned.

• Competency – to act as an executor, it is best if you have some familiarity with basic financial concepts.  Some basic knowledge in the areas of tax filing, law, and accounting is definitely helpful.

• Availability – being an executor can be very time consuming especially at the beginning.

I was once told by a legal professional, ‘whenever someone asks me if they should accept an appointment as an executor I tell them to turn and run screaming from the room’.  However the reality is that this is a job that needs to get done, and we want someone we can trust to help our families during this difficult time.  I recommend that you approach the person you would like to execute your will in advance of finalizing your Will, this shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.   Ensure that you allow them the room to say no if they don’t feel that they have the capacity whether, emotionally or otherwise, to fulfil this critical role.

You can make the life of your executor easier by ensuring that you have a current and up to date will, and that the executor knows where it is.  Keeping your will in your sock drawer may save on bank fees but it will make life much more difficult for everyone else.


Just Posted

College of New Caledonia announces early childhood educator training

Fort St. James student may benefit from the program expansion

Vulnerable B.C. communities receive funds for structural flood mitigation

Communities throughout British Columbia that have been partial to flood risks in… Continue reading

B.C. students to benefit from internship investment

As someone who has ample experience going through the often tedious process… Continue reading

BC Coroners Service urges public to drive with care

With summer officially here and upcoming road-trips with family or friends looking… Continue reading

Highlights and winners from the Binche Fishing Derby

The third annual event was a massive succes

VIDEO: Trudeau shuffles familiar faces, adds new ones to expanded cabinet

Justin Trudeau shuffles his front bench Wednesday to install the roster of ministers that will be entrusted with leading the Liberal team into next year’s election.

Wildfires erupt in B.C. Okanagan forcing evacuation orders and a highway closure

Check out a list of up-to-date information on blazes happening within the Kamloops Wildfire Centre.

‘Amazing Race Canada’ competitors face B.C. challenge

They drove Corvettes, mastered falconry basics, and ate blueberry pie in the Cowichan Valley

Grizzly bear jumps in river, chases B.C. kayaker

The bear got a bit too close for comfort along the Elaho River near Squamish

Evacuation alert issued due to Dog Creek Trail Wildfire

An evacuation alert has been issued by the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako… Continue reading

Parks Canada looks to shine light on cloudy future for historic sites

A plan is in place to produce 10-year plans designed to turn around sagging attendance figures

B.C. poet shines a bright light on struggle with homelessness

Book launch for John La Greca’s Homeless Memorial is at Vernon’s Gallery Vertigo July 21.

Ontario police say attack on Muslim man was motivated by hate

Two men, aged 27 and 19, have been charged with assault in the incident

Canadian Tire delivers toys to ease kids’ street play pain in B.C. neighbourhood

It’s like Christmas for 11 kids who are supposed to be confined to their yards by strata bylaw

Most Read