Should you appoint a foreign executor?
There is no law saying that you cannot appoint a foreign executor in your will but there are two good reasons that make it a bad idea in most cases.
First, anyone appointed executor who is not a resident of your home province or territory will normally be required to post a bond before they will receive a grant of probate of your will from the Surrogate Court. These bonds are insurance against your foreign executor running off with estate assets to the detriment of your beneficiaries, but they can be expensive and the cost of them is paid out of your estate. That means less money to go to your loved ones.
Second, there is the cost of your executor travelling back and forth from his or her place of residence to yours in order to secure your assets; instruct lawyers and accountants; sign documents; get clearance certificates from Canada Revenue Agency; and generally do all the work needed to finalize an estate before any gifts can be paid to your beneficiaries. This costs money, of course, and it also gets paid out of the estate before anything goes to your beneficiaries.
For these reasons, good estate lawyers always recommend that at least one of your executors be a resident of your home jurisdiction whenever possible.
Tom Carter is the author of So You’ve Been Appointed Executor and other law books published by Self-Counsel Press, including the best-selling book on writing your will in Canada: Write Your Legal Will in 3 Easy Steps.