Should you have more than one will executor?

Deciding who should be your executor depends upon what your executors must do and where they live. Your executor is personally responsible for your estate, although they don’t have to personally handle all of the tasks that are involved in settling it.  They can hire agents to assist them, but, ultimately, they’re responsible for the people that they hire.

Some of the tasks that your executor may be called on to do include:

  • Financially supporting any minor children until they graduate
  • Operating your business until it can be sold
  • Applying for probate
  • Paying valid claims to creditors
  • Managing your property, including assets and liabilities
  • Filing tax returns and a final accounting with the court
  • Distributing the assets to your beneficiaries

Whoever you name as you executor must have the time to perform all of these duties correctly or be liable to your estate and/or its beneficiaries.

The choice of executors to handle your estate is a personal one. In some cases, it may be advantageous to have more than one executor.  For example, if you have two children over the age of 18, you may elect to name both children as co-executors of your estate as long as they have a good relationship with one another and can work together as well as live in relatively close proximity.

Two executors can share the workload and responsibility of taking care of executor obligations. Also, choosing one child over the other may show favoritism and result in resentment on the part of the other child.

 It doesn’t have to be the eldest child

While there are no hard and fast rules for naming your executor, there are some things to consider when deciding who should be your executor(s). First, there’s no legal statute that says you have to make your eldest child an executor. Second, consider if both children have the necessary skills to be an executor. Your choice for executor should be organized, good at recordkeeping, dependable, financially savvy, fair, and impartial.

You may want to rethink your decision of naming both your children as co-executors if one child has emotional, mental or physical health issues, lives out of the jurisdiction of your estate, or if the two siblings aren’t good at working together. 

Finally, you have to consider what is the best solution for you.

Get expert insight

The Law Office of David Foley, San Diego living trust attorney, offers comprehensive estate planning services. You can bring all of your estate planning questions, including those concerning your choice of executor, to us, and we will schedule an in-person meeting to discuss your individual situation. 

We specialize in creating wills and living trust as part of your estate plan. 

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