Dealing with the death of a loved one is one of the most painful periods in a person’s life. Often overwhelmed with emotion and while they may not be able to think straight, family members are compelled to set their grief aside while they go through the process of estate administration to wrap up their loved one’s life.
This is where ETP Canada, a firm that steps in to offer executor support and compassionate assistance to people unfamiliar with the estate administration process. Debbie Stanley is the CEO and Senior Estate Administrator at ETP Canada.
She says, “We come on board as a project manager, and in a softer, more humane approach we take the executor through the steps required to close a loved one’s life. Our goal at ETP is to help people understand the process so that they can breathe a sigh of relief during one of the most difficult periods of their lives.”
Challenges of being an estate executor
Many people mistakenly believe that they must perform the role of executor alone. But in conducting their own online research, they often head down the wrong path.
For example, they may be gathering estate administration information for California, instead of Ontario. Others may reach out to a trust company or lawyer. A lawyer will provide legal advice, but not advice or hands-on support on stopping the cable or closing social media accounts, or how to empty the house.
Stanley says, “It’s tough to find someone to manage a loved one’s estate. That’s why it’s helpful to have a consultant experienced in executor support to take you through the process of deadlines, paperwork, taxes and to connect you with key professionals to reduce the stress and give people space to truly grieve.”
“You don’t know, what you don’t know”
Many people believe estate administration is simpler than it really is. For example, if an uncle passes away, people think all they need to do is close his bank accounts and sell his house. But it’s so much more, everything from cancelling a driver’s license to closing the credit cards.
There are so many questions aside from financial matters that need answers. There are the small matters such as who’s emptying the sock drawer to more significant issues like what are their wishes for their funeral.
Stanley says, “There’s an entire life that needs to be wrapped up and many people get into trouble because they aren’t aware of the numerous steps in estate administration. Often people get too far ahead of themselves. For instance, they will give money to a beneficiary before they have determined if the deceased owed any taxes.”
What to consider when appointing an executor
Many people instinctively choose the eldest child as an executor. But Debbie Stanley advises Canadians to look at it as a job opening.
She says, “When choosing an executor, the role should be assessed in the same way as if you were posting a job in the newspaper.”
Consider their expertise, experience, and availability. Most importantly, choose someone who is organized and can document everything as they wrap up someone else’s life. Stanley says, “We encourage people not to make decisions based on their heart and feelings, but rather find the person with the skills that best fits the needs of your estate.”
It could be a family member, friend or even a professional executor service such as ETP Canada. Stanley says, “If it’s difficult naming an executor, a qualified professional can be named as your executor, giving you assurance that your estate’s administration is in good hands.”
Getting educated in executorship
Because we don’t like to talk about death, when it comes time to face the issues around a loved one’s passing, we don’t know what to do. ETP Canada is educating people about estate administration, power of attorney, and executorships.
They have created a crash course called Executor Ready which advises people how to choose an executor and how to be an estate executor. It’s an engaging, easy-to-follow program designed to save time and avoid costly mistakes.
The new year is a good time to start
The new year is a time to make resolutions and get organized. It’s a perfect time to make decisions about designating an executor. Debbie Stanley says, “Surprisingly, most executors don’t even know that they’re an executor until they become an executor.”
When considering our own estate plans, it’s a good time to have a conversation with the chosen executor about wishes and choices made. Stanley points out, “The worst thing is that once we’re gone, our loved ones’ may question why we made those decisions, and people may start filling in the blanks, potentially leading to family discord.”
Stanley adds, “When you don’t have a plan, you have no voice, and you have no choice.”
ETP Canada is an industry-leading, non-bank option for professional executor services that offers advice and support. Their team understands the complexities involved in estate administration. They are there for you when you need them most, to help families navigate what happens after death, leaving your loved ones with lasting memories and smoother wealth transfers versus messy paperwork and confusion.