You probably want an adult child to take up the duties of being your personal representative after you die, but you know that the job of an executor may be a heavy burden. There are many different responsibilities that go along with being an estate executor. A possible way to alleviate some of the pressure on your child is to appoint a co-executor.
Smart Asset explains that you may appoint multiple persons to be co-executors in your will. After you die, your co-executors will share the responsibility of dispersing your estate. This might help your estate through the probate process, but there are some pitfalls to this approach worth knowing about.
How co-executors can function
If you have concerns about your child carrying out certain legal or financial duties, you may choose someone as co-executor who has knowledge and experience in those areas. A co-executor may offer advice or carry out duties that your child would struggle with. A co-executor could also handle physical responsibilities like cleaning out your house or securing your assets.
Sometimes the role of executor is a time burden. Your child may have his or her own family and could have problems finding time to work on your estate while also handling family responsibilities. One or more co-executors may carry out duties that your child does not have time for.
The possible drawbacks of co-executors
It is important that your co-executors work well together. Sometimes siblings who are co-executors argue over how to handle a parent’s estate. If you sense your child could have problems working with a family member, you may have to pick someone outside of your immediate family to be a co-executor.
Also, co-executors must approve all estate decisions unanimously. There could be delays if an executor is not available to make a decision or sign a form. If there are serious disagreements, it could bring the probate process to a halt. In extreme cases, a co-executor can go to court and try to remove the other executor on the grounds of misconduct or acting in an incompetent manner.
Co-executors do not work out for all families, so think about any alternative that you might find easier. For instance, if you have concerns about your executor candidate dying before you do, you may name a successor in your will to take over. Setting up a trust may also give you more control over what happens to your assets without having to worry about probate.