Choosing an Executor

One of the most important decisions you’ll make when you’re preparing your Estate Plan is selecting an executor. The executor of your will needs to be someone who is willing and able to carry out the many required tasks, which can take as long as two years to complete.

Your executor will be responsible for protecting and administering your estate, having your will probated and distributing assets to your beneficiaries. These are vital duties that require a significant amount of time and effort.

When deciding on an executor, you’ll want to choose someone who:

  • You can trust to manage your affairs the way you want. Avoid asking your adult children if you have any concerns about potential conflicts.

  • Has the time available to devote to executing the will. Click here to learn more about the duties of an executor.

  • Lives reasonably close to you, so they can easy to deal with your family and your assets. There are disadvantages, and potential costs to the estate, should you select an executor that lives outside of the province of Alberta.

  • Has some knowledge of tax, investments, and financial decision-making.

  • Is capable of getting things done, but is also willing to ask for help from others including professionals such as an estate lawyer or tax accountant.

  • Is willing to be your executor, and is likely to survive you.


If you have questions about choosing an executor, or about any other estate planning related matter, contact the offices of Summit Legal Group for a consultation.

Some additional options when choosing an executor:

1. Consider naming an estates professional as your executor.

Many people choose to appoint family members or close friends as their executor. However, if you have a complex estate or are concerned about potential family conflicts, consider appointing an estates professional, like a lawyer or a trust company, as an executor.

2. Choose more than one executor

For example, you could name joint executors such as a family member and friend or a family member or friend and a lawyer or trust company as co-executors.

3. Name a back-up

Include an alternate executor in case your first choice is unwilling or unable to manage your estate.

Your named executor may choose to hire a lawyer or estate professional to help them take care of handling the day-to-day administration of your estate. Their fee would be paid by the estate.

Ensure your executor has or knows where to find, the most recent copy of your will and other pertinent estate information.