Should you name a child as executor?

Jan 10, 2019
Mother, father and their adult children

When deciding on your executor, or liquidator in Quebec, it’s quite common to name a child to administer the estate. But if you have more than one child, it’s a decision to make with caution.

Here’s a look at the pros and cons of going this route when siblings are involved.

You can name two or more children as co-executors. Potentially, this can be ideal – you treat your children as equals, and they share the workload. But if the children live in different cities, they’ll face challenges to meet together at the lawyer’s and accountant’s office and the bank – and documents must be signed by all co-executors. Also, any disagreement on administration issues will cause frustration and delays.

Naming one of the children as executor simplifies matters. It’s easy to arrange meetings with the lawyer and accountant, and decisions can be made quickly. The other child, or children, may even be relieved that someone else is doing the work. However, if the other children take exception with the executor’s judgement calls, the efficiency won’t be worth the discord among siblings.

Solutions to consider

You can discuss the executor decision with your children, either together or separately, to get a sense of how smoothly you envision the process would go – and to determine whether you’d name one executor or co-executors. If you have second thoughts about naming a child as executor, you might consider choosing your spouse, another family member, a family friend, your lawyer or other professional, or a trust company.

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