Words matter

Aug 17, 2021

The world of estates and trusts is full of terminology that may be confusing to people outside the industry. Below are some definitions to help you decide whether your executor, attorney or trustee will make decisions by themselves or with someone else.

Sole

Let’s say you have one child who is named in your Will, power of attorney or trust. They will be able to make all decisions solely; in other words, they are responsible for every administrative decision they make with regard to your affairs.

Alternate

If you plan to name one person to act in your Will, power of attorney or trust, we encourage you to name someone else as an alternate. This person (or trust company) can step in to fulfil the role if the original person is unable or unwilling to do so. If there is no alternate and the original person can’t or won’t act, a court application to replace them will be required, which is costly and time-consuming.

Joint

If you name more than one person to act jointly, it means they must make all decisions unanimously and cannot make decisions on their won. If they don’t get along, disagree constantly, or if one is not available for an extended period of time, this can be problematic. If they realize they can’t work together, a solution is for one of them to renounce their role. They must do this before they take on the role. Another solution is for them to appoint a trust company such as Concentra Trust to act as their agent and manage administration. The benefits of this solution include that a trust company will not take sides and will remain neutral.

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