Garton & Harris

Estate administration: Options for solo seniors

Unmarried seniors who have no children or extended family members may have an issue when it comes to their estates. If these British Columbia residents don't have family, who then will look after their estate administration when it's a job usually relegated to adult children or some other family member? Naming a corporate executor is a viable option in these cases.

Such an individual can do the same things as a familial executor can do -- see to the repayment of debts, pay final taxes, look after property and even arrange the funeral. Some of the nation's bigger banking institutions might be able to help in this regard. But some provinces have limits as to how much these individuals can be paid -- usually 4 to 5 per cent of the estate's value.

Since the population in Canada is aging, banks have increased the numbers of staff who can help seniors with this issue. The cost of hiring such a concern may be prudent if assets are in excess of $1 million, and by today's standards and figuring in real estate values, that is not impossible for many seniors. Some seniors who do have loved ones still opt to hire a corporate executor.

A British Columbia lawyer may be able to act in this capacity as well. Seniors who need answers to confusing and complex issues regarding the legalities of estate administration can find them through an estate planning lawyer. Seniors don't have to fly solo when it comes to having peace of mind when it comes to their estate plans.

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