As the Grey Tsunami grows the Government of Ontario is increasing the reporting responsibilities of an Executor to ensure that assets reported when a will is probated are not understated. The draft details of the new reporting obligations are posted to the Government of Ontario website at http://bit.ly/1yxP8ee.
We can only guess how many more fiduciary responsibilities will be assigned to Executors, however the Government of Ontario’s need to balance their budget each year will likely bring new responsibilities that an Executor must manage.
Being financially literate empowers you to make daily decisions for things as simple as: should I buy that pair of shoes, wait until they go on sale or save the money? It also empowers you to set long-term financial goals and determine the means to achieve them.
It should also empower you to see the implications of deferring decisions in areas considered to be unpleasant.
AND… it should empower you to assess whether you have the information and skills to undertake fiduciary responsibilities for finances you currently have no control over.
As the Executor you are not only responsible to the beneficiaries, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is the first and last creditor of an estate. CRA will hold you personally responsible for non-payment of any taxes if you have made distributions to the beneficiaries and there is not enough money left to pay all outstanding taxes.
“Some people live quite private lives and they die unexpectedly and people don’t even know to look,” said Darren Jack, chairman of a task force for the Unclaimed Property Professionals Organization.
While no one likes to look into the mirror and face their own mortality, admitting its inevitability allows us to take steps to ensure our wishes are clear, understood, and carried out to the maximum extent possible, with the least cost. In other words, ensuring you have a clear, valid and effective will that articulates both the letter and spirit of your wishes, appointing an Executor who has both the skills and the time to carry them out, and providing your Executor with an inventory of your assets and obligations (including where they are located and how they can be accessed) are critical elements to achieving your wishes.
So some time ago, your mother, father, aunt, grandmother, or friend probably took you for a drink, looked you in the eye and asked you an important question: “Will you be the Executor of my estate?” You were flattered, and not knowing what to say or what it involves, said yes. You are a good son / daughter / or friend, but did you understand what you were getting yourself into?