Executors: Do you Really Want the Risk?

You are the advisor to Janet and her family. She has trusted you for a number of years.

No surprise to you she asks you to be the executor of her estate. How should you respond?

Here are 3 things to consider:

  1. Does your relationship give you an advantage in being an executor?
  2. Is “No thanks” the best way to answer Janet?
  3. What is the risk involved in being an executor?

I will help answer these 3 questions in my posts over the next few weeks.

If you want to say “Yes” to being Janet’s executor, then heed my warnings.

Do You Know the Duties of an Executor?

Most Canadians have little idea of the responsibilities of an executor.

Most of us will need to act as executor for a relative or family member.

You should become familiar with the legal obligations of estate executors.

Executors Are Fiduciaries and Held to the Highest Legal Standards

Doug Carroll wrote an excellent article entitled, “Advisor as Executor: The responsibilities are not without risk” in the May 2011 edition of Forum Magazine. He highlights the rewards and risks of advisors acting as executors.

Carroll summarizes the pros and cons for advisors who want to say “Yes” to clients like Janet.

However, as a planner, I doubt he has seen the other, dark side of being an executor.

In my mind there is only one answer to clients like Janet.

Professional Advisors: Save Yourself From Executor Disasters

Say “No” politely to Janet and similar requests as a policy decision.

I’ll tell you how you can help Janet make the right choice of executor.

You can do this without hurting a client’s feelings.

You come out a hero.

How is that possible?

Because looking out for the client’s best interest is your real job.

Help your clients choose the best executor. This is a process where clients often need professional advice to consider all their options. You can use Choosing Executors to learn how to help your clients choose the right executor. This includes an easy-to-use Executor Scorecard. Buy it here.

Want a taste of what can go wrong if you become an executor? Read my free ebook, Executor’s Disease™, and learn how to help your clients save their money and family from ruin.