When executors, trustees and attorneys make decisions about your
November 12, 2020
The world of estates and trusts is
full of terminology that may be confusing to people outside the industry. Below
are some definitions to help you decide whether your executor, attorney or
trustee will make decisions by themselves or with someone else.
Let’s say you have one child who is named in your Will, power of attorney or
trust. They will be able to make all decisions solely; in other words, they are
responsible for every administrative decision they make with regard to your
If you plan to name one person to act in your Will, power of attorney or
trust, we encourage you to name someone else as an alternate. This person (or
trust company) can step in to fulfil the role if the original person is unable
or unwilling to do so. If there is no alternate and the original person can’t or
won’t act, a court application to replace them will be required, which is costly
If you name more than one person to act jointly, it means they must make all
decisions unanimously and cannot make decisions on their own. If they don’t get
along, disagree constantly, or if one is not available for an extended period of
time, this can be problematic. If they realize they can’t work together, a
solution is for one of them to renounce their role. They must do this before
they take on the role. Another solution is for them to appoint a trust company
such as Concentra Trust to act as their agent and manage the administration. The
benefits of this solution include that a trust company will not take sides and
will remain neutral.
Joint and Several
Appointing people jointly and severally is rare. This type of appointment
means that one can make decisions about one part of the administration and one
can make decisions on other matters. There are advantages and disadvantages to
this approach. The advantage is that if one person is unavailable for an
extended time, the other can act alone. It can be a disadvantage if each person
is making decisions and they disagree. It also creates a greater risk of
financial abuse and can make reporting more difficult. Trust companies will not
accept a joint and several appointment.
Naming a person or trust company as a successor is common with trusts and
powers of attorney. The successor does not have any duties until the original
trustee or attorney is unable or unwilling to continue to act. This is important
when investments must continue, taxes must be filed and record keeping must
happen. Naming a successor is a logical solution; without a named successor, or
including instructions on how to choose a successor, an application to the court
will be required to name a replacement.
Review your Will, power of attorney and trusts to ensure you’ve named your
executor, attorney and trustee in the way that best suits your circumstances.
Consider the following:
- Do they live outside Canada?
- Are they the same age as or older than me?
- Will they be able to handle conflict if it arises?
- Can they maintain impartiality?
- Do they have the time?
- Do they have the required expertise?
- Did I ask them if they’re willing to take on the role?
An estate and trust specialist at Concentra Trust can answer your estate
planning questions. We work with Canadians to ensure you have the documents you
need—such as Wills, powers of attorney for property and personal care—and to
determine whether establishing a trust for your loved ones is the right
For more information, contact:
1.800.788.6311 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Did you miss our most recent article? Click
here to read Introducing Estate Advance Financing: Easing the financial
burden for executors.
Concentra Trust, a national trust company, has been serving clients,
corporations and communities for more than 65 years with tailored estate and
trust solutions designed to preserve and transition wealth to future
generations. We are well versed in navigating the intricacies of estate planning
and administration and our experts have the skill to support all aspects of the
process. Given our passion for trust governance, our unbiased advice and
guidance, and our inclusive leadership culture and co-operative values, we
provide exceptional client service.