This may sound strangely familiar. You have two children and love them equally. On the other hand, you may have never married and have two siblings. Meanwhile, you are ready to sit down with your lawyer regarding your estate planning needs. You’re shocked when your attorney questions your wish to name more than one executor to your will.
All things considered, it all makes perfect sense to you. You love your family equally, and you all enjoy a close relationship. No doubt you’re not looking to hurt feelings – and how could you possibly choose between the two? Meanwhile, you may have an entirely different mindset.
Have your children or brother and sister been feuding for years? Even if it’s just a short time, you should know this. Using your Last Will and Testament as making them work together – will almost always result in turmoil. Of course, you won’t be around to experience it.
With all this in mind, you still can dig in your heels and do what you think is the right thing. After all, your will reflects your intentions concerning your estate. And, that includes selecting the person(s) who will best follow your instructions. Although many experienced estate planning attorneys may advise you otherwise, they will still draft documents that comply with your wishes.
The Problems with More Than One Executor
More than likely, you’ve heard the old adage that “two heads are better than one” applied to many situations. However, the saying comes with a basic reality check. Even simple matters can erupt into conflicts. Take for example the short tale of these two brothers.
When their mom recently passed away, the brothers discovered that they were named as co-executors. Their mother’s home is in a historic district of a rural Pennsylvania town. In fact, the back of the house overlooks the cemetery where Mom and her parents were laid to rest.
The family home is cluttered with trinkets of questionable value. Brother #1 wants to keep the house – mainly because of its proximity to the graveyard. He’d also like to divide up their mother’s collectibles among the three granddaughters. He figures their worth is more sentimental than monetary.
Meanwhile, Brother #2 objects. He figures Mom is dead and that’s the end of the story. As far as the division of property among the grandchildren? Everything should be appraised and divided according to a dollar amount.
This is a real-life story. Brother #1 and Brother #2 are co-executors who are so conflicted that they’ll be spending the upcoming holidays separate and apart. Surely, their disagreements were unanticipated by their late mother – and may ultimately result in protracted litigation.
Breaking Down the Issues
As an individual preparing your will, you should know what your executors’ duties entail. In some cases, you may select someone as your personal representative because of their availability or ability to get things done. If you choose multiple executors, one of the following issues may surface:
- One of the executors might be non-communicative and essentially absent
- There can be disputes concerning division of real and personal property
- Co-executors may have trust issues
- Mental or physical disabilities may impact executor’s ability to perform
Dividing responsibilities for decisions after your death is just one issue of your estate planning plan. You should also give serious consideration as to who you want in charge if you become incapacitated.
With more than 40 years of combined experience, the personal injury attorneys at Fellerman & Ciarimboli strive to provide the best service to clients in Philadelphia, Northeast Pennsylvania, and throughout the Keystone State.