Hearsay, The BLF Blog

Hearsay, The Becker Law Firm's Blog

Co-Executors or Alternative Executors: Which is Better for You?


The person you name as the executor of your will should be able and willing to carry out your final wishes.  If you have more than one child, you may feel compelled to name them co-executors in an effort not to hurt any of your children’s feelings.  However, this might lead to unnecessary disagreement and delay when probating your will.  Consider naming alternative executors instead.

Jan has two adult sons.  Sam lives in Georgia, and Dan is deployed in the military overseas.  Jan’s will, for which Sam and Dan are named co-executors, provides for her prized Picasso to be sold at a price “reasonable to the executors’ choosing.”

Co-executors must make decisions unanimously.  If Sam wants to sell the Picasso to a private buyer and Dan wants to put it up for auction, the two executors’ disagreement could possibly require legal action to be resolved.  Even if Dan agrees with Sam on the private sale, his being deployed could delay or make impossible his signing any documents necessary for the sale.

Jan should have named Sam and Dan as alternative executors.  Sam could serve as executor, and if he were unable or unwilling to serve, then Dan could step in and act in his place.  In this case, Jan would have the peace of mind knowing that her estate would be settled expeditiously and that neither of her sons would feel left out of the probate process.

Estate planning is not required, but it facilitates the transfer of wealth to the next generation.  If you are interested in planning or updating your estate, we at The Becker Law Firm would be happy to answer your questions and help you.

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