When an individual drafts their Will, they name a person(s) that they respect and trust will carry out their final wishes fairly and to the benefit of the beneficiaries. Although not always successful, most people try to identify someone that won’t cause obvious animosity within the beneficiary group.
The role of executor for even a simple estate is a big job; it can be challenging for a person to perform within the confines of full-time employment and balancing other obligations, particularly when they have limited experience with the tasks involved. The executor often looks to their spouse, common law partner, or someone else they love, to help carry out the tasks – sometimes, literally, for the “heavy lifting” and other times to solve the “estate business” problems associated with the administration.
Jon Chevreau of the Financial Post sits down with wills and estates lawyer Barry Fish, co-author of “Where There’s an Inheritance,” to discuss some of the problems families can face when a loved one passes away. From family members that criticize and challenge the steps taken by the executor, problems arising from executor fees, forgiveness of debts in the will and sibling rivalries, Fish proves how estate administration can be complex, emotionally-charged and risky. It may be worthwhile for an executor to safeguard their personal assets through an insurance policy, or for the drafter of a will to consider insurance to protect the value of their assets should litigation arise.
Wealthy Boomer- Wills & Estates Lawyer Barry Fish on Inheritance Stories
Common law spouses generally do not have the same rights to estate assets as married spouses do, and financial and property rights are virtually unrecognized at law for purposes of an intestate division of an estate.