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In my parents' wills, can they name me as their executor if I don't live in Canada?

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In my parents' wills, can they name me as their executor if I don't live in Canada?
My parents, who live in British Columbia and are full Canadian citizens, would like to make me the executor of their wills. Though I was born in Richmond, BC, I have been living in the UK for the last 20 years. Are there any reasons why I could not be named as their executor? Are there any tax implications to this?

Being an Executor - Answer Nicco Bautista

Non-residents of BC can be named an executor in the will of a person who has assets in British Columbia. Often, however, there are significant tax consequences when a non-resident of Canada acts as executor, and therefore it is not recommended. The main tax implication is that an estate is considered by the Canada Revenue Agency to be resident wherever the executor is primarily resident. If the executor is not a Canadian resident, the first additional challenge is that a tax return must be filed for the estate in the country where the executor resides. An estate administered by a non-resident executor is also potentially liable for higher taxes in the country where the executor resides.   

As a result, it is usually recommended to appoint an executor who lives in Canada or, as another option, to appoint a Canadian trust company as executor. 

When deciding whether to appoint a non-resident executor, it would be useful to first get advice from an accountant familiar with the tax laws of Canada and the country of the non-resident executor.

Written July 2, 2017

See our pages on wills for more on the legal issues involved when choosing an executor and making a will.

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