Should You Name More Than One Person as Executor of Your Will?

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Acting as an executor can be a tremendous amount of responsibility and a time-consuming duty.

Should you name more than one person as executor of your will? Naming multiple executors of your will may make probating your will somewhat confusing.

What are the pros and cons to choosing one child to act as your executor rather than selecting all of your children to act together?

nj.com’s recent article asks “I’m planning my will. Is it bad to have more than one executor?”

The article explains that the duty of the executor is to gather all of the decedent’s assets, pay any outstanding debts and liabilities, and then account for and distribute the remaining estate to the beneficiaries according to the instructions in the decedent’s will.

The executor is allowed to hire professionals and others to help with tasks like completing a decedent’s final income tax return or preparing the home for sale.

When you have multiple executors appointed, these tasks can be assigned to each person to lessen the burden of the many duties and responsibilities that an executor has.

However, if those appointed can’t work together easily, appointing multiple executors (such as all of your children) can make the administration of an estate much more difficult due to arguments, conflicts of interest, one executor taking the lead to the resentment of the others, or one executor undermining another executor’s actions.

The problem is, in situations where the siblings don’t get along, designating one of them as executor can cause hard feelings and conflict. It’s not uncommon for those siblings who aren’t named as executor to complain about every decision made by the named executor or any delay in the administration of the estate.

If there are multiple executors, the majority rules which can avoid deadlock. Simple math in this case says that you want to avoid naming an even number of executors or name a person who can act as the tiebreaker.

Even with a “majority rules” agreement among the executors, there are some financial institutions and other entities that may require all the executors to sign documents and/or checks on behalf of the estate which can become burdensome and inefficient, if there are multiple executors.

Consult with an estate planning attorney about your family dynamics and get his or her opinion about what would be best in your personal situation.

Reference: nj.com (May 22, 2019) “I’m planning my will. Is it bad to have more than one executor?”

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