What Is a Co-executor and the Pros of Having One?
A co-executor is a person who shares the responsibility of being an executor with another person. When two or more people share this role, it is called a co-executorship.
They may have been named by the deceased as the co-executors, or they might be appointed after death by a probate court.
A co-executor’s responsibility includes
- explaining the will to those involved;
- inventorying and securing any property of the estate;
- notifying appropriate people such as banks, brokers, insurance companies, and government agencies about the death;
- paying debts and taxes from the estate’s assets;
- selling real estate and other property that is part of an estate;
- collecting income or other payments that come due after a person dies; and
- distributing the remaining assets to those who are entitled to them.
Why Would I Need a Co-executor?
When one executor cannot manage all of the responsibilities, he may want to name a co-executor.
There are several reasons why this might be wise:
- Some duties, such as notifying family and friends about the death or paying debts and taxes, can take up a lot of time.
- If the executor has a very busy schedule, he may not have adequate time to manage all of the estate’s affairs.
- It might be difficult for one person to do everything that is required in some cases, especially when the will directs the co-executors to divide personal property among several people who are close to the deceased.
- If one executor is uncomfortable performing duties that are not part of his usual activities, he may want a co-executor who has knowledge and experience in these matters.
- For example, it might be difficult for a person to sell real estate if he does not have experience with this type of transaction or access to resources, such as a real estate agent.
- Some executors may want to designate co-executors for reasons of confidentiality. For example, the executor might not want all personal information about the deceased’s family members to be given out indiscriminately in letters or calls notifying people of death.
How Do I Find a Co-executor?
If the executor does not know who he would like to name as co-executor, he can ask family members or friends for suggestions. He can also search online or in the phone book for estate planning attorneys who might have experience with co-executorships.
When looking for a co-executor, the executor should consider their relationship to him, their willingness to serve as co-executor, and whether they have knowledge or skills that will help them in this role.
The executor may also want to consider whether there are individuals who would be willing but probably cannot accept the role. For example, he might ask an adult child who is busy with work and family, but he will probably not ask a teenager.
People who do not want to be named as co-executors can decline without having their feelings hurt. The executor wants people to feel that they are wanted, but most often the primary motivation for naming co-executors is completing certain tasks efficiently.
What Are the Benefits of Having a Co-executor?
There are several benefits to having a co-executor:
The co-executors can share the work and responsibilities so that it is not too overwhelming for any one person.
If one executor dies, resigns, or is unable to continue in his role, the co-executor can carry on the estate’s business.
Co-executors are able to discuss any problems that come up while carrying out their duties. They may have different ideas about how certain decisions should be made or what tasks should be done next. The executor benefits from these conversations because they help him make good decisions.
A co-executor can take on some of the duties if the executor finds that he needs more time to handle other matters, such as caring for his own family after a death in the immediate family. This allows him to continue working with the estates while keeping personal obligations at an appropriate level.
An executor benefits from co-executors because they can help with some of the more difficult duties, such as notifying family members.
Who Should Be My Co-executor?
Deciding who to select as a co-executor is a very important task that requires consideration.
The best person for the job is someone that the primary executor trusts and who is familiar with the deceased’s wishes.
Ideally, the co-executor should be someone who is available to take on the duties and who has the time and resources to do so. The co-executor should also be someone who is not going to have any trouble working with the primary executor.
If you are unable to name a co-executor, the court will appoint an administrator to handle the estate. This is not someone you want to choose because it can be difficult and expensive to remove this person if there is a disagreement about how the estate should be managed.
What Does a Co-executor Do for Me?
A co-executor helps the executor by sharing the work and responsibilities.
If the co-executor is also an executor, then he can continue to serve if the primary executor dies, resigns, or is no longer able to serve.
Co-executors are a great resource for discussing problems and making decisions. They can also help the executor if he needs more time to take care of his personal obligations. Co-executors are a great asset to an executor and can really help to make the process easier.
Remember that having a co-executor is not required, but it can be a great help. The executor should choose someone he trusts and who is familiar with the deceased’s wishes. The co-executor should be someone who is available to take on the duties and has the time and resources to do so. He should also be someone who is not going to have any trouble working with the primary executor.
This is not someone you want to choose because it can be difficult and expensive to remove this person if there is a disagreement about how the estate should be managed. Co-executors are a great help to executors and can really make the process easier. Choose wisely!
The Bottom Line
Co-executors are a great resource for discussing problems and making decisions. They can also help the executor if he needs more time to take care of his personal obligations. Co-executors are a great resource to an executor and can make the process much easier.
Disclaimer: The above references an opinion and is for information purposes only. It is not intended to be investment advice. Seek a duly licensed professional for investment advice.
About the Author
True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®
True Tamplin is a published author, public speaker, CEO of UpDigital, and founder of Finance Strategists.
True is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF®), a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing, contributes to his financial education site, Finance Strategists, and has spoken to various financial communities such as the CFA Institute, as well as university students like his Alma mater, Biola University, where he received a bachelor of science in business and data analytics.