Should Your Estate Use Co-Executors? And Should One Be an Attorney?
While most people name one person in their will to serve as the executor of their estate, there are times when having two or more co-executors makes more sense. Could your will be better served by co-executors? And why should one of them be an attorney? Here are some answers to your questions.
Why Appoint Co-Executors?
The job of being executor for an estate can be complicated and time-consuming. Many people are unfamiliar with the role or the probate process when they're named executor, and they then invest significant time learning what to do and completing steps. In addition to locating, valuing, and maintaining all the estate's assets, they must also determine its legitimate debts, manage heirs' expectations, and report to the court.
All this time and effort means that it may be best handled by a team that can help one another out. Co-executors may have skills and characteristics that fill in each other's gaps. They can halve the workload and provide a sounding board for sensitive decisions.
Why Aren't Co-Executors Common?
Having co-executors sounds like a great way to reduce the burden on an executor. So why don't most people use them? Basically, the same problems can arise that arise in any partnership endeavor. One may feel that they're doing all the work or that the other is overstepping their bounds. Even worse, the two people may not be able to agree on a course of action or decision.
Should an Attorney Be a Co-Executor?
Do you feel that your estate would be best handled by two or more people? The most common situations include estates with unusual assets to manage (like a business), a person whose first choice may not be up to the entire task, or an estate that may need extra time to pass through probate. In these cases, co-executors make sense.
But how can you avoid the downsides of co-executorships? One of the best ways is to appoint an outside professional as one of the executors. An attorney with experience in estate planning and administration knows how to navigate probate, has the time to devote to estate tasks, and is trained to help solve problems in logical and positive ways. And they have no personal interest in the estate.
Where Can You Learn More?
If you think that co-executors could solve some of your estate planning challenges, start by learning more about them. Meet with an estate planning attorney in your state today to begin.