Whenever I take will instructions, one question I ask is how much they want to pay their executor. Sometimes, the client feels that the executor will be inheriting a large portion of the estate and so should not be compensated at all; people are more likely to allow for compensation when the executor will not be inheriting. However, it is important to remember that acting as an executor can be a very big job.
Executors have to do a lot, even on an estate that appears to be straightforward. They will have to prepare documents for probate, collect and liquidate all of your assets, deal with the estate lawyer and account, deal with Canada Revenue Agency, file supplemental estate returns, distribute assets, and do a final reporting to the beneficiaries. Even on a so-called “simple” estate, this can mean hours of work; on a more complicated estate, it can be all-consuming. Refusing to pay an executor can, in fact, result in the executor refusing to act.
Think carefully when you make that decision, and consider asking the executor what they think. Sometimes, paying the right person a fair amount can make the whole process run more smoothly.