When you’re putting your estate plan together, one of the biggest decisions you have to make is who to name as your executor.
Since the executor is the person who will be in charge of your estate as it goes through probate, you want the job to go to someone you trust – but you have two adult children who are equally capable. You’re worried that if you name one as your executor it will seem like favoritism to the other. Should you make your adult children co-executors?
It’s probably not the best choice for your family
People don’t usually realize that having more than one executor can actually complicate the entire probate process. Since both executors have to agree on all actions, there is a huge potential for delays if they disagree. Even when they are in agreement, coordinating signatures on documents from both parties can lead to significant problems with communication and errors.
In addition, should your co-executors get frustrated with each other because of differing approaches to their responsibilities, you could be setting your adult children up for a long-lasting “family feud” that’s fueled by the sort of bitterness and resentment that you’re trying to avoid.
You do have other options for your executor
Sometimes, it’s better to pick someone else to manage the estate – rather than one of your beneficiaries. An executor can receive a fee for their services, which means that they would not have to do the work without fair compensation. If you have a family member or friend that your adult children trust, that might be your best option.
Failing that, you can always hire a professional executor. Because a professional can remain impartial throughout the process, this can minimize hard feelings and lower the chance of a dispute between siblings.
These are the kind of issues that many people don’t fully consider when they try to make their estate plans on their own without legal assistance. What can seem like an “easy solution” to a tricky issue can actually set your loved ones up for even bigger problems down the road. As such, seeking legal guidance proactively is generally wise.