Choosing the ideal executor 

Choosing the right executor* is the key to minimizing conflict with your heirs. You want to look for someone who is not only willing and able to handle your estate, but who also has the inclination to take on—and resolve—complex issues.

Things to consider:

  • Comptency: Your executor has to understand and meet the needs of government agencies, court officials and legal and tax professionals. Ideally, you want someone familiar with technical areas like business, law, tax and accounting. But what is most important is that they grasp new concepts quickly and make sound decisions.
  • Objectivity: You’re looking for someone who can maintain their perspective when emotions run high. An individual you can trust to be impartial and to act with fairness to all concerned.
  • Emotional intelligence: You want an executor who can get the job done—and can also build consensus and communicate effectively. Your executor can help shape your heirs’ views in making important decisions. Soft skills play an important part in preserving good relationships and avoiding conflict.

Help your executor deal with conflict

While selecting the right executor can help minimize conflict, it may still arise. You can use your Will to set out the process you’d like your executor, heirs and others to resolve their differences:

  • Specify that they reach out to a trusted friend or advisor for assistance should conflict arise
  • Select an odd number of executors and provide that majority rules
  • Indicate that you would prefer disputants to use consensual dispute resolution processes (eg mediation) instead of going to court

* Liquidator in Québec.