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Carrying Out Final Wishes

Can a corporate executor lighten the probate load?

People tend to seek out the most trusted friends and relatives they have to serve as estate administrators of their estates after they die. After all, who best to carry out one's wishes but a trusted loved one?

Actually, in many cases, the administrator, while trustworthy and well-intentioned, is not the ideal person for the job at hand. Perhaps they lack the financial savvy to oversee a complex estate with different types of assets that must be carefully managed. Or their own family and work constraints could impede their ability to devote the time that is necessary to probate the estate properly.

In cases of complicated, high value estates, sometimes the best choice of estate administrator in not an individual at all; it might be a corporate executor. These services are offered by incorporated trust companies that usually are subsidiaries of the Canadian banking system. Below are some assets that corporate executors bring to the estate administration table.

-- Knowledge, expertise and professionalism. Companies have accounting, legal and tax professionals on hand and also can turn to others for property management, valuation or investment knowledge.

-- Impartiality. Conflicting interests among warring family members? No problem! Corporate estate administrators aren't burdened by bonds of friendship or family ties. They can manage an estate with a level of detachment that is usually impossible for an individual to sustain.

-- Continuity. In large estates with vast holdings, the estate administration tasks may go on in perpetuity, long past an estate administrator's natural lifespan. Rather than having to go to the trouble of choosing a successor, corporate administrators have personnel in place to take over.

If you are unsure whether to take on the job or to select a corporate administrator to act in your stead, an estate administration lawyer can offer wise counsel.

Source: The Blunt Bean Counter, "Is a Corporate Executor the Right Choice?," Heni Ashley, accessed July 08, 2016

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