When should I update my will?

3. Check if your estate trustee’s situation has changed

The person who deals with your after you die is called an . They are also called executors, estate representatives, personal representatives, estate administrators, or liquidators.

It's a good idea to see if you still want the person you named in your will to be your estate trustee, and if they're still willing and able to act as your estate trustee. For example, your estate trustee may be in poor health now and no longer able to do the work.

Or, your estate trustee's situation may have changed since you named them in your will. If they've moved out of Ontario or Canada, you may want to think about naming someone else who lives in Ontario to be your estate trustee. That's because it may be easier for a person living in Ontario to take care of your estate. If they're outside of Canada they may also need to pay a bond.

A bond is an amount of money that is meant to protect the and creditors of the estate in case the estate is not administered properly. The amount of the bond is usually double the amount of the value of the estate.

Talk to the person and see if they still agree to be your estate trustee. If they don't, you'll have to think of another person.

Also think about choosing someone to be an alternate estate trustee, in case your first choice dies or is not able or willing to do it after you die.

More than one estate trustee

If you name more than one person to act as estate trustee, it's a good idea to say how decisions about your estate should be made. For example, say if you want all the estate trustees to agree on every decision, or which one can decide if they don't agree. If the will doesn't say anything, then all estate trustees must agree before any decision is made.

Your estate trustee has to do things like:

  • arrange your funeral and burial or cremation
  • stop payments that end on death, like Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security, social assistance, and disability insurance payments
  • find and value all in your estate
  • apply for probate if needed
  • pay any taxes and that you owe
  • file your tax returns
  • distribute your estate based on what your will says
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