The estate liquidator or executor

The right executor or estate liquidator

By definition, an executor (also called an estate or succession liquidator) is an agent who is entrusted with the job of settling a deceased person’s estate. The process is called estate liquidation or settlement.

to settle the estate, the executor closes accounts, files income tax returns, collects amounts owed the deceased, draws up an inventory of assets and liabilities, and distributes the estate to the heirs.  This is a serious mandate, so it is important to choose the right executor.

Most importantly, the executor must be someone trustworthy and solid, someone who can pull together a team of professionals to consider all the options in order to get the best result.

Executors frequently have a hard time getting a global picture of the situation. Feelings come into play.

Are you having trouble finding someone who can handle the job? Are you worried about backlash if you choose one family member over another? You’ve got options!

For a fee, many professionals, such as notaries, lawyers and accountants, can provide liquidation services.

Banks and trust companies that are registered with the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF)—in other words most financial institutions and investment firms—can also be appointed as executors.

Note that executors can also use the services of such professionals to help them in settling the estate.

Usually, executors are appointed in the will. If not, the heirs automatically take on this role. Executors must always be diligent, honest and loyal in carrying out their duties, and never enter into a conflict of interest situation. Executors must not be easily influenced by the beneficiaries; they have a duty to deal with them equitably. Ideally, choose a mature executor who lives in your area. The person must also have free time, enough energy, and at least a little interest in taxation. If your situation is complex, if you have a blended family, for example, or heirs who live abroad, make sure to choose wisely.

To prevent problems, it’s a good idea to talk with the person you’re considering and ask for their permission. Some people even stipulate specific, fair compensation for the executor, as well as reimbursing any expenses incurred in carrying out the duties. This can sometimes help motivate the executor.

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