Most of us will designate one primary person to carry out our will and ensure our assets are distributed as we wish after we die, but sometimes your situation may be best suited to having a co-executor. If you’re thinking of naming co-executors of your will, you should be aware of both the advantages and disadvantages.
The Responsibilities of an Executor or Co-executor
Your executor is vital as they are responsible for administering your estate. This individual is in charge of seeing that your final wishes are carried out and that your estate assets are distributed in accordance with your will. The executor must assemble all estate assets, make all necessary payments of debts and taxes, and then close your estate when everything is settled.
The executor bears much responsibility, so you should name a trustworthy and responsible person to act as your executor. You might also consider whether it makes sense to appoint a co-executor.
The Pros of Designating Co-Executors
There are some excellent reasons to consider naming co-executors in a will, and you might have a circumstance calling for one. Here are some scenarios where having a co-executor might be beneficial.
Executors With Different Skill Sets Could Resolve Complicated Issues
Suppose your family is not involved in the business you own. In that case, consider appointing your business partner as a co-executor to assist your family in handling those aspects of your estate.
Your Spouse is Not Fully Capable
You may want a co-executor of a will if you think your spouse would need assistance carrying out the executor’s responsibilities because of age, stress, or other factors. This will relieve part of your spouse’s burden while keeping them involved in handling your affairs.
You Have Two Adult Children and Don’t Want to Offend Either
Most people appoint an adult child to act as executor, but if you have more than one child, you could name two as co-executors to avoid family arguments and hurt feelings.
The Cons of Designating Co-Executors
Naming co-executors of a will also comes with some disadvantages, and here are some reasons you should not consider naming a co-executor.
Co-Executors Must Do Everything Together
Co-executors must file all paperwork together, execute checks jointly, complete, sign, and file tax returns together, and close the estate together. These responsibilities may become burdensome and time-consuming if a co-executor is not available.
Co-Executors Must Agree on All Decisions
Conflicting matters are brought before the probate court for settlement if the co-executors disagree on handling a particular part of the estate administration. Estate litigation delays the distribution of the estate’s assets and may result in legal costs, ultimately reducing what the beneficiaries receive.
A Co-Executor Might Not Live Nearby
You should take into account where your executor resides when selecting them. With many documents to sign, business to transact, and other responsibilities, a local executor can facilitate a smoother estate administration.
Naming Co-Executors of a Will Could Cause Family Conflict
One co-executor who disagrees with the will’s provisions could cause family dissension by blocking decisions and transactions.
Estate planning is an essential part of life and involves numerous decisions. Every estate plan is unique, and you deserve a personalized estate plan that safeguards your assets, family, and peace of mind. The estate planning attorneys at Path’s Law Firm can explain the law and help you make the best decisions. Contact us today to discuss your estate planning needs.