Trustee, Executor & Attorney Obligations
TORONTO ESTATE LAWYERS ADVISING TRUSTEES, EXECUTORS, AND ATTORNEYS ON THEIR OBLIGATIONS
Being appointed a trustee, executor, or attorney comes with significant obligations and responsibilities and equally significant legal and financial risks and personal liability. If you find yourself in any of these roles, you should consult with an estates lawyer as soon as possible and before taking any action or making any decisions.
The Toronto estates lawyers at Derfel Estate Law regularly advise trustees, executors, and attorneys on their responsibilities and obligations. We can work with you on a one-time basis and answer stand-alone questions that you may have regarding the administration of a will, estate, or about attorney duties, or we can provide ongoing advice and guidance for 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.
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 estates 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 416-847-3580 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.