Co-Executors… Good Idea?


Naming Co-Executors appears to be a convenient way to make everyone happy in the immediate future when it comes to estate planning. But choosing more than one person to serve as Executor can have disastrous consequences on your estate.

Those with two or more children are most likely to consider naming Co-Executors. The thinking behind naming all children as Co-Executors is to not offend or show favoritism to any child. However, being named Executor or not is unrelated to the inheritance that someone receives. For instance, choosing Child A as Executor, does not mean you cannot split your estate three ways, between Child A, Child B, and Child C. It simply means that Child A will be the sole person to manage and oversee this process.

By choosing Co-Executors, here are some huge potential problems:

  1. Co-Executors cannot agree on fair market value of real property, causing a severe delay in closing the estate.
  2. Co-Executors may not communicate well, and with each taking action, there could be overlap, conflict, confusion, etc.
  3. Co-Executors may develop a short-term or long-term conflict with one another as a result of working together. If Co-Executors are both family members, this could have a lasting impact on family relations.
  4. As a result of conflict or disharmony, Co-Executors may end up in court to end the dispute, and no one wants to end up in court.

Instead, our firm often finds that it works much better to name a primary Executor, and then two successor backup Executors. This ensures that the role will always be filled, and allow decisive action on your estate.

Your Will should be written clearly so that nothing is left open to interpretation. This way, there will be no question regarding your wishes that your Executor is charged with carrying out.

Lastly, naming someone as Executor should not be a secret you keep to yourself. You should inform people that you have chosen to fill roles for your plan. This way, no one will be surprised when the time comes that they need to fill the role.

Do you have a plan that you are comfortable with? For a complimentary estate planning consultation, please call our office today at (215) 706-0200.