Here at Benchmark Law, we believe that Wills and Estate planning go hand-in-hand with business planning. It’s important to ensure that both your family and your business are protected in the unfortunate event that something happens to you.
As part of your estate planning, you’ll be expected to assign certain roles and responsibilities. This can be overwhelming, especially if you’re unsure of exactly what each role means. In this blog, we’re discussing the difference between a Trustee and Executor so you’ll get a better grasp of each term, which will come up often in the planning process.
Let’s break down exactly what each term means:
What is a Trustee?
In very simple terms, a Trustee is someone who has been assigned to take responsibility for managing money or assets that have been set aside in a trust for the named beneficiary/beneficiaries.
A Trustee is only responsible for dealing with specific assets, which will be described and laid out in a trust document – often the will itself. The Trustee is expected to act in accordance with the terms of the trust, and the law. Depending on the terms of the trust, the Trustee’s responsibilities may include the following:
- Managing investments
- Distribution of trust assets to the beneficiaries
- Management of property
- Making decisions that may arise with regard to the trust and the beneficiaries
- Preparing any records, statements, and tax returns
Trustees are expected to act in the interest of the beneficiaries outlined by the will or trustee document, acting with reasonable care and may not personally make a profit from the trust. However, professional Trustees can be appointed and may charge for their services.
Trusts are often used in the case of you leaving assets to children under the age of majority.
What is an Executor?
An Executor is a person you have assigned to carry out the instructions in your will when you die.
Responsibilities of an Executor may include the following:
- Fulfilling your wishes, as stated in your will
- Ensuring your estate is handled in compliance with the law
- Managing the affairs and expenses of your estate, including paying expenses, debts and collecting receivables, planning for cash and liquidity needs, having assets appraised or revalued if necessary
- Distributing assets to the beneficiaries according to the will
- Filing tax returns for the deceased and the estate
For more information on the role of an Executor, you can read through the Government of BC’s guide.