Trustee, Executor & Attorney Obligations


Assuming the role of trustee, executor, or attorney involves substantial responsibilities, accompanied by significant legal and financial liabilities. For individuals in these positions for the first time, seeking prompt guidance from an estate lawyer is crucial before making any decisions or taking action to impact the estate.

The Barrie estate lawyers at Derfel Estate Law specialize in advising individuals undertaking these roles, offering valuable counsel to navigate the complexities associated with trusteeship, executorship, and attorney duties. Our assistance can be tailored to address specific queries on a one-time basis or offered as ongoing support throughout the duration of your role.

Trustees and Executors

An executor is a person who is appointed by the testator of a will to carry out the directions in the will.

A trustee is a person who has been appointed to hold property and assets in trust for the benefit of any beneficiaries.

Attorneys for Property

An attorney for property is someone who has been appointed by a grantor, while that grantor is still capable of making decisions, to make decisions about the grantor’s legal and financial affairs in the event of the grantor’s incapacity or absence.

The attorney for property makes decisions about an incapable grantor’s finances (investments, banking, etc.), their home (upkeep and maintenance, paying the bills, etc.), and other important assets.

In other circumstances, the attorney for property makes decisions while a capable grantor is away or out of the country for an extended period of time (on vacation, business trip, etc.).

Attorneys for Personal Care

An attorney for personal care makes decisions about a grantor’s health care and other personal care where the grantor is no longer able to make decisions about things like medication, treatment, etc.

Fiduciary Duties

An executor-beneficiary, trustee-trust, or attorney-grantor relationship creates a fiduciary duty. The executor, trustee, or attorney owes a duty of care to the beneficiary, trust, or grantor and must always act in good faith and with integrity. All decisions must be made in the best interests of the beneficiary, trust, or grantor.

A breach of an executor’s, trustee’s, or attorney’s fiduciary duty has significant legal and financial implications and can result in serious personal liability.

How Derfel Estate Law Can Help

In most cases, individuals who have been named or appointed as executors, trustees, or attorneys have had no previous experience in such a role. They may not fully understand the scope of their responsibilities, the seriousness of their fiduciary duty, and what steps should (or must) be taken.

At Derfel Estate Law, we regularly advise trustees, executors, and attorneys on their roles, and assist them in carrying out their duties, including:

  • Outlining their duties and obligations (including which steps are optional and which are mandatory).
  • Explaining the potential risks and liabilities.
  • Helping them carry out their duties and obligations.
  • Assisting with interpretation of wills, trust documents, and other relevant documents.
  • Assisting with keeping accounts and records.
  • Advising on decision-making.

Derfel Estates Law: Advising Trustees, Executors, and Attorneys

If you have been appointed a trustee, executor, attorney for property, or attorney for personal care, contact Derfel Estate Law to speak with an estate lawyer. We regularly provide guidance to fiduciaries to ensure they are carrying out all of their obligations and making decisions that are in the best interests of testators or grantors while minimizing the fiduciaries’ legal risks.

Call us at 705-812-2100 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.