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Should you make your two adult children co-executors?

On Behalf of | Sep 7, 2023 | Estate Planning |

When you’re putting your end-of-life plans together, there are a lot of choices that have to be made – not the least of which is picking a trustworthy executor to make sure the probate process for your estate goes as smoothly as possible.

If you have two adult children, it may feel like a good idea to have them share the executor responsibilities so that you don’t seem like you’re “playing favorites,” but going that route can actually inspire more problems than solutions.

It can cause administrative issues

Shepherding an estate through probate requires a lot of paperwork and it’s filled with administrative tasks, such as opening and closing accounts, filing legal documents, paying taxes and more. When co-executors are involved, that means getting both signatures on every piece of paper, which can increase the potential for confusion and delays. It can also increase the administrative and legal costs for your estate, which can eat away at what you’ve left behind.

They may have conflicting goals

Two heads aren’t always better than one. Co-executors constantly need to be in agreement with each other about how to handle issues with the estate that may arise – including what to do with tangible assets or investments. Even if your adult children get along well, they may have differing opinions or goals. If they don’t think alike (or don’t get along), it’s virtually guaranteed to strain their relationship even further. Disputes over the best course of action when there are options can lead to family conflict and unnecessary emotional strain.

While the idea of appointing two adult children as the co-executors of your estate may seem like a way to ensure fairness, it can actually lead to (or increase) interpersonal issues between siblings that have the potential to affect the entire family. They can also cause lengthy delays when it comes to settling the estate. That doesn’t particularly serve anybody’s interests well. Learning more about how the probate process works and what an executor needs to do can help clarify your needs and make it easier for you to make informed decisions.