What Happens When The Court Has Removed An Executor?

Depending on who is involved, there will be different choices facing the court.

If there was an alternative executor, acceptable to all parties, named in the will, that provides an easy solution. But it may be that the beneficiaries disagree as to who would be the most appropriate alternative trustee. In those instances, the estate trustee of choice is either a financial institution like the TD Canada Trust or Scotia Trust, or a lawyer.

Financial institutions do well in the role of executor because they know how to administer the accounts and make sure that everything, including taxes, is paid properly and paid on time. Also, they are insured if they make any errors.

A lawyer who is agreeable to all parties can also serve as executor, but he will have to get special permission for the bond to be waived, because outside of a financial institution, if someone new takes over the trustee role, the normal procedure is for a bond to be posted.

Normally, the parties involved will tell the court who they want. When there are parties who cannot get along and who do not trust one another, they usually look to a neutral third party beyond reproach and that is the financial institution. However, that is not a viable option where there is not a lot of money available, because financial institutions are expensive, although they will argue, and there is merit to the argument, that they are less expensive because of the investments they will do for the trust.

With the right group of people, the right trust company can be a very effective neutral third party estate trustee. There are now some lawyers who are doing it on a less expensive basis and there are certain accountants who will act as estate trustees as well.

There are good options for people who find themselves needing to replace an executor, but it is helpful if they are represented by counsel who knows what they are doing. Keeping in mind the interests of their clients, their lawyers can give good advice as to whether or not an estate trustee is preferable.

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This article is taken from a April 30, 2008 interview with Charles B. Wagner. Note that laws vary from province to province. Please consult with a lawyer in your own area to be sure of the laws and specific issues in your own jurisdiction.