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Administering estates: an important business.

December 12, 2008

I’ve been honoured with the responsibility of acting as joint power-of-attorney and c0-executor of an elderly woman’s estate.

The estate is complex.  It has significant assets (cash, equities, bonds, real estate and family holding company) and eleven beneficiaries, three of whom directly own voting and non-voting shares in the holding company and eight of whom own non-voting shares.  The holding company’s primary assets include a house in which four beneficiaries live and a holiday property that all eleven enjoy.

The elderly lady passed away almost three years ago and my co-executor and I have been administering her estate since.  We’re very close to concluding this administration with a final distribution to its beneficiaries. 

It has been a tremendously positive experience for me.  Not because it’s been easy or because it’s been without challenge.  But because it has been hard and has presented innumerable and what have, at times, seemed like insurmountable challenges.  

I now fully understand how important an executor is to the successful administration of an estate.  An effective executor will improve the prospects of its beneficiaries.  An ineffective one will adversly affect the outcome for beneficiaries.

Over the course of time I’d like to write in this blog about my experience in administering this estate.  In part because it was such a meaningful process.  But mostly because I now appreciate the importance of the role of executor.  

We’re all going to die and will, perhaps, have assets to pass on.  Some of us will be beneficiaries of estates and some will become executors (I’m an executor of another complex estate).   My hope is that you, a friend or a relative gets some value from my experience.

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