executor lawyer

Executors: Read This Before you go to a Lawyer

In the initial stages of settling an estate, the only reason for an executor to call a lawyer is if the Will appears to be invalid, contentious, does not exist, if there are problems with the beneficiaries, or other issues that require immediate legal advice.

Otherwise, before even booking an appointment, record the information below in QuickEstateTM, print it off, or compile it elsewhere to save a ton of time and legal fees. QE’s digital system allows you to add, modify and delete information as you go.

You’ll be using this information repeatedly throughout the settlement process to deal with financial institutions, government agencies, other organizations, and individuals with whom the deceased had business.

Ideally, use QE to gather this information before your loved one passes away.

If you’re considering delegating the estate administration to a lawyer or trust company, know that,
as the named executor, you’ll be doing all the legwork to collect this information, while they charge for every phone call and email asking for it.

If hiring a professional makes the most sense, use the QE Estate Executor Toolkit to monitor their progress, to ensure nothing falls through the cracks and that the work is being done on a timely basis.

As the named executor, you are ultimately responsible, possibly personally liable, for any work delegated to a third party. Given how most professional executors get paid, there is little incentive for them to settle estates quickly and the good ones have too many files on their desk. So show up prepared!

QE Personal Details: Information on the Deceased

  • First name, middle name(s), last name
  • Previous names, e.g. maiden name
  • Place of birth
  • Home address, telephone numbers(s), email address(s) Citizenship
  • Marital status
  • Spouse’s first name, middle name, last name, address, telephone, email, citizenship

QE Legal Document Locator

  • Original Death Certificate
  • Original Will (in each jurisdiction where the deceased had a Will)
  • Original Codicils
  • Original Trust document(s)
  • Original personal information: birth certificate, SIN, driver’s license, passport, marriage certificate, separation agreement, divorce decree, co-habitation agreement
  • Original corporate documents: shareholder or partnership agreements, buy/sell agreements, share option documents, others
  • Original Promissory Notes – owed to the deceased or owed by the deceased
  • Original Land Titles and Survey Documents
  • Personal Effects Memorandum, if referred to in the Will
  • Other documents requested by the lawyer

QE Contacts

For each executor(s), immediate and contingent beneficiaries, guardians, trustees:

  • First name, middle name(s), last name, previous name(s) and relationship to the deceased Address, telephone number, email address
  • Date of Birth
  • Social Insurance Number
  • Citizenship Marital status

Professional advisors that the deceased worked with, whom the lawyer may need to call: financial advisors, accountant, other lawyers

  • First name, last name
  • Telephone number, email address

QE Estate Inventory


  • Description, location and account numbers of each asset held personally or corporately, including bank accounts, investment accounts registered accounts, life insurance, real estate benefit plans, promissory notes owed to the deceased, and personal use assets of any value
  • Ownership of each asset – in deceased name, in joint name, with joint owner information, or held corporately or with business partners
  • Market value of each asset at date of death


  • Description, location and account numbers of each personal and corporate debt owed to financial institutions and other creditors, including mortgages, loans, lines of credit, credit cards, leases, personal guarantees, promissory notes, others
  • Ownership of the debt – in deceased name, in joint name, with joint borrower information, or owed corporately
  • Outstanding balance of each debt and immediate payment requirements

Income from all Sources

  • Employment, investment, business, registered plans, government and employee benefit plans, e.g. deferred contribution plans, stock option plans, partnership income

You can see why lay executors who have delegated the work to professionals often say, “It would have been faster, easier and cheaper to have done most of it myself.”