Do I Need a Lawyer?

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Lady justice for the executor legal system

Some estates will require a lawyer, but in most cases the decision is up to you.


EstateExec is primarily designed to help estate executors administer and ultimately wind up a decedent's estate, paying off debts and making distributions to heirs. While EstateExec online software will greatly assist you with your executor responsibilities, you should be aware that:

  • EstateExec is a productivity aid, and does not provide legal or tax advice
  • EstateExec is not intended to provide exhaustive coverage for all possible situations, or even the most common ones

Perhaps a good analogy would be that of using Quicken® to manage your household budget: Quicken can provide a nice structure, track your inflows and outflows, and generate reports, but ultimately it's up to you to make sure that your budget is right for you and that you follow it (let alone ensuring that you are complying with all relevant financial regulations and obligations, such as homeowner's dues, pet licenses, etc.).


Consequently, we recommend that you engage an appropriate probate lawyer to help you with the process. A probate lawyer won't/can't do everything for you, but he or she can be an invaluable resource, and often has contacts that can ease the process for you. You almost certainly need a lawyer if the estate is very large, the will is particularly complex, or there will likely be litigation.

When working with a probate lawyer, you will still need to use EstateExec (for tracking assets, debts, distributions, and so forth), and in fact EstateExec can make the cooperation between you and your lawyer easier and more transparent. To continue our analogy, just because you hire a financial adviser doesn't mean you stop using Quicken.

You can find a local probate lawyer via the Canadian Bar Association, or even better, through the Law Society in the estate's province.

Nevertheless, since a probate lawyer will likely cost thousands of dollars, a number of people do choose to do it themselves, especially for smaller estates.

Alternative Legal Services

If you only want answers to a couple of specific legal questions, you can work with our partners to get quick legal answers affordably. This service is not a substitute for a probate lawyer (who would handle your entire case), but it can be ideal for people trying to settle estates themselves, who just want occasional guidance.

Whatever you decide, EstateExec will be very helpful throughout your executor process.

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