How Do I Find Out if I Have Unclaimed Money?

Millions of people in the United States go for years without knowing that they’re owed piles of money. This money comes either from overpaid taxes or unknown wills that are executed as long lost relatives pass without their knowledge, and the list only grows from there.


More than $40 billion is simply waiting to be accounted for across the nation due to some sort of mix up in processing, a move, or through standard withholding practices that were never accounted for on the back end. Unclaimed money often sits in trust accounts or within corporate or government bank accounts for years before the rightful owners are made aware of the windfall due to them.


So how can you tell if any unclaimed money belongs to you?


When you begin searching


The trouble that most Americans find in searching for their unclaimed salary, tax refunds, or other payouts is that the funds can be almost anywhere. So beginning the search can be a challenge that prevents many of us from ever starting.


Often times, the idea of lost money owed back to us can seem like a dubious proposition. We work incredibly hard for our money, and most Americans (although generally skeptical about their retirement security) are still on track to join the 80 percent of retirees living comfortably today. Financial issues tend to be the ones we inflate the most, considering that financial consideration plays such a large role in our daily lives.


So, the first thing to remember when starting a search for these unclaimed funds is that this is not a scam of some sort. As wild as it might seem, money does simply get lost in the shuffle, and far more often than we would like to think. This is why conducting periodic financial reviews and seeking out potentially lost capital every few months, quarterly, or even yearly is something that we should all be doing already.


Just like the savings account you are carefully cultivating, this lost money is yours, and you deserve to claim it back.


Use the right tools


A great way to really maximize your search results is to employ a third party site. These typically give you access to alert settings, so that you can just set it to search for unclaimed money and forget it.


If you don’t find something useful today, but you want to save your search, you can set a reminder or an alert that automatically repeats the search over time. And it notifies you when something of value is found in your name down the road. This is much easier than trying to remember all the details of your search parameters to repeat a query down the road.


These search engines also query all available databases across the nation, unlike searches you conduct personally. This speeds up the process tenfold. Whether money is found or not, quick search capabilities let you return to the things that matter most to you without having to spend hours or days flicking through obscure records in a hundred different databases. 


Likewise, these search providers also tend to offer other search capabilities that come in particularly useful in home business growth or in routine personal searching use. Criminal records checks are a particularly handy addition to a home office’s arsenal of tools in order to provide guidance in hiring and mitigate potential liability through hiring negligence.


Seeking out unclaimed money is something that every American should be doing on a regular basis, considering the staggering amount of unclaimed capital there is floating around, waiting for its rightful owner to appear. Begin searching with a streamlined service and find those missing dollars, so you can put them to work for your savings or that next vacation.

Understanding the Differences Between Financial Advisors and Brokers

Advice Channel
Advisors Channel

As a fee-only financial advisor, I am surely biased to this type of advisor. I do think everyday investors are much better off if they have someone in their corner who is recommending a particular investment product because it actually is the best product for them, given their circumstances and life stage. Not because there’s a commission on the sale at the end of the day.

That doesn’t mean, though, that you shouldn’t be mindful of possible issues – and that’s for any financial advisor, whether fee-based or full-service brokers. For that matter, you also should be mindful of potential drawbacks to other options that may seem (superficially, at least) appealing.

Let’s look at the options.

Fee-only financial advisors are considered advantageous because there’s no inherent conflict of interest as there can be with full-service or commission-based brokers. Brokers often recommend investments owned by their company, which is an inherent conflict.  You simply have to consider whether the products recommended are going to be best for your personal financial goals.

What you pay for is financial guidance, planning and assistance. This may be a flat fee. Some advisors charge a percentage of your account’s assets. You may be able to negotiate the amount. But, the fees you pay do not fluctuate according to the type of investments that are being recommended. What you get with this approach is objectivity and investment advice that’s unbiased. Your interests and your advisor’s are aligned.

The commission-based approach to financial advisory services is less the norm today than in the past. You open an account or buy a stock or bond and your advisor gets a percentage. Recurrent trading may also be encouraged – which may not be good for investors with a longer-term perspective. This all can pose a conflict with your best interests and goals.

And on the do-it-yourself front? Well, as attractive as this might sound on the surface, consider the relevance of the saying about the attorney who represents himself. For investment purposes, you might find good information online, but it’s just as likely you’ll find speculative information, if not real fake news. Investing is a risky business; if you don’t have the time or the expertise to do an adequate job of qualifying research, get a professional to help. Your future – financial and otherwise – depends on it.

Speaking of your financial future, it’s never too early to start planning for it. That means Millennials – and even the oldest Generation Zs who are just entering the workforce – should be putting money aside as they think about their long-term financial goals. It’s a challenge, of course, especially for those who are still trying to pay off college. Retirement is maybe too much to think about, right?

With that said, I’ve developed a service package to make it less painless. My new Robo-Advisor Professional service package is specifically targeted to the needs of Millennials and utilizes an in-depth financial data collection sheet, as well as a plan discussion with myself, to collect essential information about your financial background and goals.  This provides a strong base of understanding for clients to invest in ETFs through WealthSimple with a superior portfolio manager with a track record of beating the index.

ETFs are ideal for those with more limited resources, as a “wrapper” around a group of securities. They have a cost advantage over individual stocks and can be traded commission free. They’re similar to mutual funds, but with more flexibility as they can be traded throughout the day, not just once.

Ed Rempel Org

What is The Cash Flow Dam?

What Is The Cash Dam and How Does It Work?

 The Cash Dam (sometimes referred to as a “cash flow dam”) is a simple but powerful concept, and it’s an especially attractive option for those who are familiar with the Smith Manoeuvre or other tax minimization strategies. Cash Dam can help you with tax optimization if you have a mortgage and own either a small business or a rental property.

What is cash damming?

 The Cash Dam allows the owner of a small business or rental property to more quickly pay down their non-deductible mortgage on their home. It’s a variation on the Smith Manoeuvre, but without additional investing. The Cash Dam is essentially an expedient way to change bad debt into good debt.

For someone who’s using the Cash Dam, what it involves is using a line of credit to pay for business expenses. Then, while using the increased business cash flow, you pay down a non-deductible mortgage or loan. This, in turn, produces an increasing tax-deductible business loan, while paying down a non-deductible mortgage or loan. Be advised that the Cash Dam as described above will only work for those who own a non-incorporated personal or partnership-based small business or a rental property.


 If you own a small non-incorporated business that has $2,000 in expenses each month and you also have a readvanceable mortgage, then the $2,000 per month expense would be paid by the home equity line of credit (HELOC). You then use the additional $2,000 you have in your business expense account to make a payment on your non-deductible mortgage. Interest paid on money that’s borrowed for business expenses is tax-deductible; by using the Cash Dam, you’ll be left with a tax-deductible business loan and a non-deductible mortgage that’s been quickly paid down.

One of the keys to the Cash Dam, however, is capitalizing the interest on the business line of credit. That way, you avoid using any of your own cash flow and you keep the business line of credit tax-deductible.

How does the Cash Dam differ from the Smith Manoeuvre?

The Cash Dam relies on using a tax-deductible business loan to allow you to pay down a non-deductible debt, while the Smith Manoeuvre allows you to buy investments. Investing from your credit line is why the Smith Manoeuvre has much higher risk and return than the Cash Dam.

Potential applications

 Say that you’re a rental investor, instead of using your own cash flow to pay for rental-related expenses, you can use the Cash Dam and a line of credit. In this instance, using the Cash Dam would help you pay for your personal mortgage and help you satisfy your tax obligations as well.

And if you are a small business owner, the Cash Dam can be extremely advantageous. The strategy gives you a way to quickly pay down your non-deductible mortgage and convert that debt into a tax-deductible business loan.

Ed Rempel Org

Ed Rempel – Not Sold on ETF’s and Index Funds

Why I Won’t Own an Index Fund or ETF

 Skilled Fund Managers

Many investors are skeptical that there exist fund managers who have skill and who can beat the index over the long-term. Other investors believe that there are fund managers who have skill, but that it’s impossible to identify them ahead of time.

There are skilled fund managers that can be identified ahead of time. I know quite a few of them. You just have to look using the right criteria.

Identifying Skill

When looking at funds, many investors take an objective approach and study recent returns, look at ratings or statistics, or try to forecast which sectors will perform well.

Other kinds of skill evaluations are more subjective and rely on insider judgments, e.g., doctors assessing other doctors, or even actors judging performances of their peers.

The evaluation of a fund manager falls somewhere in between those two approaches, the objective and the subjective. I believe that, to find the best fund managers, you have to study them, not the fund.

Start by finding fund managers that have beaten their index over their career or long periods of time. This could be in more than one fund. They do not need to beat the index every year – just over time. Then study them to find out how they do it. Is it because of stock-picking skill?

Outperforming the appropriate indexes is just one factor in the criteria. Top fund managers are usually not trying to secretly follow the index–they’re more likely to have an effective style (like value investing), and have high “active share,” which means that they’re investing in a way that differs from the index; they also often have great experience and have their own money invested in the funds that they manage, i.e. “skin in the game”.

My All-Star Fund Managers

One of my special skills is identifying all-star fund managers — it’s essentially my main focus related to investments. I’ve found around 50 fund managers over the years who I would characterize as having superior skill, and all of them have beaten their index over long periods of time.

Most of those 50 managers are on my “watch list”. I own only a handful of those funds. Although I’m resistant to the idea of sharing statistics about my own personal investments, mostly because my investment style may not be suitable for every investor, I want to emphasize that it’s possible to identify skilled fund managers early and ahead of time.

Why I Will Never Own an ETF or Index Fund

I won’t ever own an ETF or an index fund because I’m not happy with below-index returns. I choose investments based on the fund managers–I want to invest with the Albert Einstein of investors, the absolute best. ETFs and index funds don’t have fund managers, so I’m not interested. The goal of investing is to obtain the highest long-term return after fees, and a skilled fund manager provides enough value to pay for those fees and more.

Above-Index Returns

There are really two options when you’re pursuing above-index returns: one, you can find yourself an all-star fund manager, or, second, you can choose a portfolio manager who’s paid by performance fee. When portfolio managers are paid by performance fee, they’re motivated to beat their index. If they don’t beat the index, the fees are similar to ETFs. If they do beat the index, the fee pays for itself.

Getting above-index returns is all about finding skill.

How to Properly ‘Stage’ Your Home if You Want a Fast Sell

When you are done organising and cleaning your house, you might want to consider home staging. Home staging is all about creating an illusion. It is about making your home look bigger and more beautiful. There are people that elevate home staging to a true art form. The benefit of staging, if done well, is that your home will sell faster and for a higher price. Home staging professionals charge anything from a few hundred to several thousand pounds, depending on the number of rooms you want staged. But there are some things you can do yourself without spending a lot of money.

Focal point

One of the first concepts of staging is creating focal points. When you look at a picture of the room, at first glance it should be obvious what the function of that room is. A dining room, for instance, should contain a dining table with chairs. A bedroom needs a bed. In the entrance hall you can use a mirror and a small table or shelf to place keys.

One thing to remember is that a lot of furniture in one place will make that place look small and crammed. Select some pieces that will go well together and make sure you leave enough empty space so you can walk around them freely. Stagers often use small love seats, they have the appearance of a couch but because of their small size they make the room look bigger. When I sell my house online, this is even more important because giving an idea of spaciousness using only pictures can be tricky.

Here it becomes a bit more difficult; some people have a gift for arranging even the most ordinary items and making them look stylish. If you are like me and you are not one of those people, there are some guidelines you can follow. When placing items on a nightstand or kitchen top, place 1, 3, or 5 items grouped together. A number of cookbooks in the kitchen, some makeup articles in the bathroom: just enough to give potential buyers an idea of what it might be like if they would live there.

You might think staging an unnecessary thing, time-consuming, and bothersome. Yet another task to deal with at a moment you already have so many things to worry about. But there is enough evidence to suggest you will sell your house faster and possibly even above market value when you do put in the effort. Some people claim they have been able to get up to 10% over market value (making use of a professional stager).  If you are interested, there are many more tips and ideas available online.

Estate Planning for the Internet Age: Keeping Your Online Assets Secure

As paper continues to be replaced by plastic and more purchases than ever are made on the internet, families must increasingly plan for the future by taking a hard look at their “digital assets” and how best to protect them.

Online shopping and banking has become the norm in 2017 — Amazon is the nation’s ninth-largest retailer, according to the National Retail Federation, and a late 2015 survey from Bankrate showed that four in 10 account holders hadn’t visited a physical branch of their bank in the last six months, a trend that will only trail upward in the years to come.

Despite this shift into the digital sphere, many Americans tend not to consider the connection between their online presence and their estate. It’s a mistake that can have consequences for the loved ones who are left to sort through their affairs; the 2017 Identity Fraud Study released by Javelin Strategy & Research in February found that 15.4 million U.S. consumers lost more than $16 billion to fraud in 2016, and account-takeover losses increased more than 60 percent between 2015 and last year.

Much of that fraud now occurs without access to a physical bank card or checkbook, from ransomware and data breaches involving entire stores and hospital systems to the email phishing scams and cyberattacks that made last year a record year for fraud both on and off the net.

The problem becomes even more complicated when stolen data can’t be recovered because its owner is deceased. Online accounts that people might never consider in their estate planning can become a headache when hacked — your iTunes account is linked to your checking account, after all. Ensuring that your personal information is safe in the Information Age means covering your bases and making your accounts accessible to the right people.

While planning for the distribution of your estate after your death is never fun, it is the first and most important step to making sure your assets are used as you see fit after you’re gone. For most, that means divvying up property, giving power over for bank accounts and bequeathing the key to a safety deposit box. In 2017, it should also mean giving out passwords and setting out language in your will that establishes set guidelines for managing your online presence.

While a growing number of governments are enacting laws that clarify the rules for executors managing virtual accounts, the fact that most online accounts are governed by a terms-of-service agreement and subject to the privacy laws of the territory in which they’re headquartered means people should seek legal advice regarding their PayPal account just as they would about their house or car. Many of the most popular websites are based outside Canada, creating the potential for a conflict in laws that should be taken into consideration during the estate planning process.

Tools offered by a service that allow secondary access to an account are an easy way for people to ensure that their loved ones have access after their death. A prime example of this is Facebook’s legacy contact feature — a person can establish a legacy contact who has permission to manage his or her account after their death by taking a few minutes to change their account settings.

If these tools aren’t available on the platform or aren’t utilized, control of a decedent’s online accounts are governed by what is laid out in his or her will. Failing that, an account’s service agreement dictates what happens to the account, and generally, access is limited to the person who agreed to the service.

Imagine it: months after someone’s passing, a fraudster gains access to their still-active Amazon account, spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars before their grieving family realizes what has happened. It’s a scenario that can be avoided with the proper planning and foresight, and a consideration that shouldn’t be overlooked in the estate planning process.

Factoring in Your Health When Completing Estate Planning

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” – Benjamin Franklin

Considering your long-term health care needs is an important element of estate planning that is often overlooked. Factoring in the cost of an enduring illness or multiple illnesses and setting aside enough money for adequate care are only a few of the health-related estate expenses that can incur in old age. Taking the time to carefully think about the quality of life you expect and the directives you would like family and doctors to follow can give you peace of mind today and ensure your wishes are followed – not only that, this kind of preparation makes sense financially.

So, what does it mean to adequately prepare for potential health issues when it comes to estate planning?  And how exactly does one do that?  Hopefully, these points below provide useful guidance.


1.  Start Early

Thinking about how your health will be in the future, especially far into the future, can seem counterproductive, after all, who knows how healthy one will be ten or twenty years from now? 

We, of course, all hope to live vibrant lives as we age.  However, the reality is that many of us will have health issues as we grow older.  Some of these may impact our ability to make sound financial decisions.  Consider, for example, that rates of early onset Alzheimer’s and dementia are both on the rise, with more people under the age of 65 being diagnosed each year. It’s estimated that by 2050, more than 16 million Americans aged 65 and over will suffer from Alzheimer’s.  It is also the 6th leading cause of death, attributed to more deaths than breast and prostate cancer combined.

Planning early is especially important when it comes to dementia and Alzheimer’s because both diseases slowly strip a patient of their memory and faculty, two factors that are instrumental in estate planning.

2.  Set Aside Enough

We are all aware that health care can be expensive, especially when considering the cost of medication, nursing homes, care centers and retirement communities.  While most estate plans do cover some of these costs, they often fail to include the cost of inflation and/or increased cost of living.

How much money you’ll need for health-related expenses generally depends on when you retire, how long you live, your state of health, and the cost of medical care in your area. With the cost of health care steadily rising, including enough funds to cover the roughly 5 percent annual inflation rate will prepare you to handle the increased cost of care in the future.

Factoring in variables like cost of living increases, increases in health care costs, and similar factors also highlights just how important it is to work with estate planning professionals who are well versed in addressing these points.

3.  Plan To Live Longer

Here’s the good news: global life expectancy is on the rise and currently is at 71.4 years.  In North America, however, age expectancy is 81 and climbing annually. While living longer is great news for all of us, it does put increased strain on our finances, especially during our golden years.

Setting aside enough funds to last the rest of your life is crucial to maintaining quality of life and being able to afford any health related expenses that arise. This can be achieved by figuring out monthly expenses, projected health costs, life expectancy and the rate of inflation. Don’t forget to leave some cushion room for unforeseeable expenses.

The One New Year’s Resolution That Usually Works

We all know the drill by now: we make a New Year’s resolution to lose weight, reduce spending, or finally finish that novel – We fail miserably, feel bad about ourselves, then down a tub of double-chocolate ice cream.  It is enough to make us give up on making any New Year’s resolutions at all.

Before you put off making New Year’s resolutions forever, please note that studies have shown that making financial New Year’s resolutions does, in fact, help you get your fiscal house in order.  Of those who achieved, or almost achieved their resolution this year, 56% said their finances improved. Of those who fell short of their resolutions, only 34% reported better financial circumstances.

Financial resolutions are actually relatively easy to achieve. If you are following a diet or exercise regime, you have to get up every morning and resolve all over again, but with something like an automated RRSP monthly direct deposit, you need only set it up once at the beginning of the year and then it becomes part of your lifestyle.

The top three financial resolutions are: save more, spend less and pay off debt. The underlying concerns that drive those financial resolutions are unexpected expenses, the economy and having enough money for retirement.

Financial pledges will not mean a thing if you do not have a firm strategy in place. So how do you go from resolution to achieving your goal?  It comes down to forming an action plan.

If it’s a few seconds to midnight on New Year’s Eve and you are just coming up with a resolution then chances are high that you will fail.  To achieve your goals requires preparation. You have to be serious about the endeavour.

Deliberately design your life so that you are more likely to succeed – do not rely on willpower alone.  Make realistic and attainable goals – then publicly declare them so that others will encourage and help you along the way.  Make sure you reward yourself for your achievements.

Track your progress.  Avoid environments which will cause you to fail (for example – if you are trying to lose weight, don’t walk past your favourite dessert place).  Allow yourself the occasional slip but have a strategy in place to get you back on track.

After about three months, your new routine will kick in and your behaviour will adjust accordingly. Resolutions are difficult to keep at the best of times so hopefully building in a financial motive will pave the way to your success.

Suddenly You Realize What You Need

Einstein entered my law office and told me about his 89-year-old Uncle Andy.

“Andy fell again and was rushed by ambulance to the hospital,” Einstein said. Einstein rushed to see his uncle at the hospital. While Einstein was there, Julie, a hospital case worker, spoke to him. “Who would make treatment decisions for your uncle?” she asked.

Einstein said, “Andy lived alone since his wife died two years ago. She went to all of Andy’s doctor appointments because Andy was forgetting things.”

“Who has your uncle’s power of attorney for personal care?” Julie asked.

“What’s that?” Einstein asked.

Julie explained, “It is a legal document that says who can handle Andy’s health care decisions.”

“But what about his house? It’s empty. We can’t leave it like that,” Einstein said.

Power of Attorney for Property

Julie said, “That’s a different document. It is called a power of attorney for property or finances. The hospital is only interested in who can make treatment decisions for your uncle. He seems confused after his surgery. He cannot be allowed to go home. He will need to go into a rehab program and perhaps a nursing home.”

“But my sisters… they promised!” Einstein said. “They told Andy he would never have to go into a home.”

“I understand,” Julie said, “but did your uncle have a plan for his care? Can he pay a personal care worker to come into his house to help him? Can he afford to stay in his house and pay for care?”

“I don’t know how much money my uncle has.”

“Well, that makes it difficult,” Julie said. “How can you prepare a budget if you don’t know if he can afford the house and personal care? Can you find out what is in his bank account? Did he have a financial advisor?”

“Yes but they can’t talk to me because of privacy laws,” Einstein said. “It is a lot of B.S. because I am only trying to help.”

Julie said, “But the advisor does not know that and the privacy laws…”

“I know but it still seems stupid. I want to use Andy’s own money for Andy,” Einstein said.

Einstein Needed Legal Advice

Einstein was in my law office to see how I could help.

“My sisters are coming back from Florida next week,” he told me. “I don’t know what to tell them. We don’t think Andy has a power of attorney.”

“Well,” I said “you will need to search his house. Check with any lawyer he had and ask his advisors. If there is no power of attorney, you need a court to help you.”

“That will take hours of work,” Einstein said. “Who is going to do that? I have to get back to my job. I am on a sales trip next week.”

“But you want to find Andy’s power of attorney if he had one,” I said. “It is a lot easier if Andy did have one.”

Otherwise someone must be appointed as your uncle’s guardian. You and your sisters will have to decide who wants that job. You all need to consent to be appointed as your uncle’s legal guardian.

The court can make you Andy’s guardian to make his personal care and financial decisions. The court will want to know your management plan for Andy’s assets. You need to be very clear about what happens to his house if it has to be sold.

Your uncle will need to be assessed to confirm he cannot make his own financial or health care decisions. Those assessments cost around $500-$1,500. You may also have to post a bond so the money does not disappear. Can you be bonded?

We have time to figure this out. There are no court appointments available for two months.”

Einstein Was Overwhelmed

Now I asked, “Did your uncle ever express any preference about his last wishes?”

“What do you mean?” Einstein asked.

“Well, has Andy ever discussed funeral arrangements? Do you know if he’s religious? Does he wish to be kept alive as long as there is a chance of recovery? Have you ever discussed DNR?”

Einstein asked, “What’s that?”

“DNR — do-not-resuscitate instructions — so a hospital knows what to do in an emergency,” I said.

“This is a big headache and too much trouble.”

Einstein asked me these other questions:

  • What is this going to cost and who pays for all this?
  • How long will it take?
  • Why didn’t my uncle do this for himself?
  • Why did he leave all his affairs in such a mess?
  • Why are we stuck with his problem?
  • Why are powers of attorney not recorded somewhere?

Einstein Answers His Questions

I said to Einstein, “Do you own a home?”

“Yes,” he said.

“Do you have a will?”


“Do you have any powers of attorney?”


“Well,” I said, “then you are in the same boat as your uncle. Nobody would know if you had powers of attorney or where to find them. It’s not too late for you. You can do something about it now.”

Suddenly, Einstein realized the importance of proper estate planning.

It is never too early to be prepared.

About Edward Olkovich

Ed Olkovich is a nationally recognized estate expert. He is a Certified Specialist in Ontario estates and trusts law. His law firm’s website is The Home of Happy Executors. Visit Ed’s blog for more free valuable estate information. © 2016

Choose the Right Executors to Protect Your Money

Here’s why people never make wills and how you fix it.

Many people do not know who to name as their executor. They cannot envision who would handle their affairs. I ask clients in my law office why they didn’t make a will sooner. Many say, “I could not find the right executor.”

Without any trustworthy family members, many people don’t make a will. They don’t know how to choose the right executor. They are not sure what their executor must do and how to pay them.

Well, if you are in that boat, here’s good news. I can help you with my insider’s tips.

I am launching a series of blog post at – The Home of Happy Executors. I cover steps for you to get the right executor. At the end of the series, you can get this free guide.

Choosing Executors Wisely by Edward Olkovich 2016 (c) Mr Wills Inc. - Guide Cover

How to Choose the Right Executors

Here are the topics I cover in the series to Choose Executors Wisely:

1. Why Choosing Executors is Important

2. What Executors Do

3. The Checklist for Executor Choices

4. How to Find Your Right Executor

5. Tips to Choose Your Executor

What is the Big Deal about Executors?

I’ve seen firsthand how bad executors create disasters. It happens even in the best families. I’ve written about this since I wrote my first Complete Idiot’s Guide® book in 1997.

You name someone as your executor in your will. Executors control when your family receives their inheritance. What happens if you choose the wrong executor?

Executors who are dishonest, incompetent or lazy can ruin your family’s inheritance. My advice is: Don’t put a fox into the hen house.

Court battles with bad executors can add years of waste and delay.

The wrong executor steals your money and ruins families. Once they are in charge, it’s hard to get rid of a bad one. I’ll tell you about one called Tony.

Courts Reluctantly Remove Executors

Tony was his Uncle George’s executor. Tony arranged his uncle’s funeral with an expensive reception. He bought a plot and an expensive headstone. This was despite everyone’s protests. Uncle George’s sister, Alice, said, “My brother wanted to be cremated in a simple service”.

“Too bad,” Tony said to Alice. “He never told me that. I am the executor and I make all the decisions. I don’t like cremation and I don’t have to check anything with you.”

Tony held George’s wake at his golf club. Tony’s golf buddies toasted George at the estate’s expense. The tab for the food and bar was over $6,000. Alice and other relatives did not bother to attend.

Can Judges Remove Executors of a Will?

Only a judge can get rid of a bad executor. Someone must go to court. Can your family afford lawyers? Can they prove that Tony was harming the estate by:

  • committing fraud
  • stealing estate money
  • wasting estate dollars
  • mistreating beneficiaries (whom Tony disliked)
  • being incompetent
  • putting George’s money in danger
  • failing to distribute assets

Such allegations are difficult to prove. A judge may not intervene unless there is serious misconduct.
Tony did not get removed as executor. He also did not tell anyone what he did next.

He took $300,000 from his George’s estate and invested in his company’s new invention – the perfect putter.

Too bad Tony’s company went broke. Tony then told his family (after paying his legal fees) there was nothing left. He never distributed George’s estate.

Tony’s behavior is regrettably common. Some executors abuse their positions.

How can you avoid these problems?

Sometimes it is as simple as naming a new executor.

You don’t need to be a millionaire to have your money wasted.

Legal expenses can eat up your estate. Your hard-earned money gets squandered.

Have You Got Wrong Estate Executor?

Should you always name family as your executor? You may want to re-consider such decisions if, for example, your children:

  • don’t get along
  • are receiving social assistance
  • are stepchildren from a subsequent relationship
  • have been married several times
  • struggle with financial difficulties
  • cannot be trusted
  • live out of the country

The right executor avoids conflicts, comforts your family and controls costs. Make sure you have the right executors. Don’t force loved ones into a court battle to remove bad executors.

What Happens if You Chose the Wrong Executor?

What can happen after you are gone?

Your family can challenge your decision in court. They can show a court reasons why your chosen executor should be disqualified. The trick with someone like Tony may be to try and stop him.

This legal action can keep your estate frozen – bills won’t be paid and investment decisions will be deferred – until your family can agree on appointing a new and neutral executor (i.e. a lawyer, accountant or trust company).

Easy Steps to Choose Executors Wisely

I have spoken to public and professional audiences across Canada. Choosing executors is always confusing. Advice is not always independent or free.

People want to know if they can name their spouse as executor. Is that a conflict of interest? You will get answers to this question and much more in Choosing Executors Wisely.

About Edward Olkovich

Ed Olkovich is a nationally recognized estate expert. He is a Certified Specialist in Ontario estates and trusts law. His law firm’s website is — The Home of Happy Executors. Visit Ed’s blog,, for more free valuable estate information. (c) 2016