Are co-executors a good choice for your estate?

| Apr 13, 2021 | Estate Planning | 0 comments

Choosing the right person to be the executor of your estate may help your loved ones receive their inheritance without complications. Still, some people struggle with this decision. They may want more than one person to handle their estate. While it is possible to appoint co-executors, it is not always the best decision.

Before naming co-executors in your Will, it may help to know how this option could potentially benefit your heirs but could also present some drawbacks.

The pros and cons of co-executors

You may want a son or daughter to be your executor, but your child has a busy schedule and cannot fully commit or lacks the skills needed for the role. You may help your child out by appointing a co-executor with the appropriate skills and available time. Also, co-executors may promote accountability since each executor can monitor the actions of the other. However, the executor, if serving alone, can and should hire an experienced estate attorney to provide assistance and oversight rather than appointing a co-executor.

Appointing co-executors may complicate matters. As CNBC explains, two executors means you have two people who must sign off on everything. This can prolong the time needed to close out your estate. There could also be trouble if your co-executors cannot work together. If there is no way to resolve disagreements, it could significantly delay the closing of your estate and may even lead to legal battles.

Contingent executors

You may have heard of contingent or “backup” executors.  These are not the same as co-executors. A contingent executor is someone who steps in to serve as executor when your original choice cannot fulfill the duties of the position. This may be a preferable option if you have doubts about naming co-executors. Instead, you will keep the duties of executor confined to a single person while having a backup choice ready to take over if needed.

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Carol Sikov Gross is a member
of the National Academy of
Elder Law Attorneys

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