Garton & Harris

Estate administration: When one executor lives abroad

Having an estate plan is vitally important for all adults regardless of their circumstances. In fashioning an estate plan, British Columbia residents must keep in mind who will be involved in estate administration once the time comes and there are a few things to think about when choosing an executor -- especially if the executor doesn't live in the country. For example, if a parent names two children as executors and one lives abroad, there may be some hurdles to overcome, but it could work.

Firstly, anyone who lives outside of Canada who is named an executor could renounce that decision by signing a renunciation form. If a nonresident executor does choose to take on the role, it might be difficult for him or her to access Canadian bank accounts, even though he or she has the right to make decisions regarding the estate. If the person lives in the States, tax implications might have to be overcome as well.   

It is always wise to speak to adult children about estate planning and whether they're on board with being named executors. It might be a good idea to name someone as a backup executor in a will, in any case. There are things that could possibly go sideways if not discussed beforehand.

Those involved in estate administration duties in British Columbia may find it helpful to speak to a lawyer about their roles, especially when sharing those duties with someone outside the country. A lawyer could also foot confusing questions about issues like nonresident executor bonds. It is always in an executor's best interests to be informed about the laws that go along with estate administration.

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