What Is the One Thing Every Executor of a Million Dollar Estate Must Do?

Are you the executor of an estate that owns real estate in Toronto? Any real estate in Toronto is likely worth a million dollars or more. So this question should interest you.

Here is my answer.

The one thing every executor of a million-dollar estate must do is this: Get good estate advice as soon as possible.


A million-dollar estate can put you at personal risk if you make mistakes. The estate can reimburse you for your legal advice. But may not pay for your mistakes. Preventing problems should be your first concern.

That means you need to know what your legal duties are. Most wills do not specify everything you need to know and do as an executor.

Renunciation as Estate Executor

You do not have to accept the executor job without fear or guilt. You can renounce the job but must do this promptly before taking any action.

You must give any alternate named executor proper legal notice. An estate lawyer can do this for you.

It is a simple form that must be given to the court as well.

If there is no back-up executor, your lawyer will notify the beneficiaries.

Estate Lawyers Need Estate Experience

Not all lawyers have experience handling estate matters. Law firms that prepare wills may not know how to open and close an estate.

Hire an estate lawyer who has experience administering estates. You want an estate lawyer who can explain things without too much legal mumbo-jumbo. Your estate lawyer must understand you and talk to you in plain language you can understand.

Years ago, I had a call from an executor, let’s call her “Kelly”.

Kelly called me after meeting with her lawyer who was well known and highly respected. Kelly had spent a couple of hours with her lawyer but did not understand what she was supposed to do next.

Kelly wanted me to explain what her lawyer had told her.

I reviewed the legal terminology the lawyer used.

Kelly said, “You explained in minutes what I needed to know.” Kelly asked why her lawyer could not do this.

Do you need expert estate advice?

Check out my glossary of executor terms or read my free e-book, Suddenly You’re An Ontario Executor – Start Your Estate Journey Here.

Contact me for any estate matters.

Estate law is all I do.