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How Stressful Is Being an Executor?

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A recent headline in the Globe and Mail reads "Being executor of a will likely 'most stressful experience you'll ever have'." While that is something of a hyperbole, it is true that being an executor is often extremely stressful.

Executors often have to deal with contending creditors, heirs, family members who are not heirs, financial institutions and more. Executors have to be very meticulous and careful to make sure the assets of the estate are properly distributed and that the executor is not held personally liable for any mistakes.

It is for these reasons that the article suggests three things you should do before designating someone to be the executor of your estate:

  1. Pick someone who can handle the job. An executor needs to be able handle the stress. He or she needs to have the necessary skills to handle the estate's assets. The executor also must have the time to manage the estate.

  2. Pick someone who lives in the area. Executors will be required to attend multiple court hearings. They need to live close enough so attending the hearings does not create an undue burden on them.

  3. Tell the person you wish to designate before actually making the designation. Being an executor is a difficult job. That should not come as a surprise.

Anyone who is appointed as an executor does not need to administer the estate entirely on his or her own. It is almost always advisable that executors seek the assistance of an estate attorney so the attorney can make sure everything is done properly. Doing that will go a long way toward making the responsibilities of your executor not the most stressful thing he or she will ever do.

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