Pillow Talk: The Executor’s Spouse and Who Really Makes the Decisions?

When an individual drafts their Will, they name a person(s) that they respect and trust will carry out their final wishes fairly and to the benefit of the beneficiaries. Although not always successful, most people try to identify someone that won’t cause obvious animosity within the beneficiary group.

The role of executor for even a simple estate is a big job; it can be challenging for a person to perform within the confines of full-time employment and balancing other obligations, particularly when they have limited experience with the tasks involved. The executor often looks to their spouse, common law partner, or someone else they love, to help carry out the tasks – sometimes, literally, for the “heavy lifting” and other times to solve the “estate business” problems associated with the administration.


This helpful assistance, at least from the executor’s viewpoint, may be viewed differently from the critical eye of the beneficiaries or their spouses or significant others . . . who may resent the involvement of the executor’s significant other. This resentment can be a historical family friction, or it can be the result of this individual demonstrating some ostensible authority whether deliberately or accidentally – and it can become problem for the executor to manage with the beneficiaries. Ultimately, beneficiaries that are unhappy with the executor’s over-involved partner may have no alternative but to seek legal direction from the Court to bring clarity to the situation.

Executors may also find themselves with an estate or personal liability arising out of a bad decision made “on the fly” by their spouse, perhaps while privately showing the house owned by the estate or during the course of disposing of household assets that have some financial or sentimental value to beneficiaries.
Using executor liability insurance to manage the personal risk of the executor for the administration of an estate is simply smart business for the ordinary person charged with the task – even with the best legal advice, there is a real risk of any estate going off-side from something (or someone) no one could imagine.

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Downloadable Resources

Want more information on planning, preparing and administering an estate? Download our easy to use reference guides and resources to help you along the way.


  • Executor Liability Insurance - Return the completed application to our office to find out if you are eligible for executor liability insurance.


  • Fiduciary Bonds - Have you been asked to provide a bond for the estate? Download the application and follow the directions to apply for a bond.


  • Free Executor Guide - If you have been asked to be an executor or are acting as an executor this guide will help you understand your responsibilities and help track your activities.


  • Free Will Preparation Guide - A step to step guide to the questions you will need to address when preparing your will.


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