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Should you name co-executors for your estate plan?

If you’ve begun developing your estate plan, or at least thinking about it, you know that one of the most important decisions you’ll need to make is who will be the executor. This is the person who will, as the name implies, “execute” your plan and see that all of your wishes are carried out, in accordance with the law. It’s an important responsibility.

You may believe that it’s best to give this job to one person. Having two or more executors is just a recipe for conflict, right? Co-executors have the same amount of authority over the estate. It’s not like one of them answers to the other or their roles are legally confined to specific areas. Even if they divide up their duties, they’re going to have to work together on some things.

However, before you rule out the prospect of co-executors, it’s important to consider how complicated your estate is and what skills and knowledge the person or people you’re considering can bring to the role.

If you have a number of different types of assets, it may be best to name two or more executors so that they can each handle the assets with which they have some expertise. Maybe you have multiple properties and also a considerable amount of money in investments. If you have a close friend or family member who’s a realtor and another one who’s a financial adviser, they can each bring their experience to the role and handle things more expeditiously than one of them alone could.

Perhaps the person you’re considering to be your executor has a wealth of knowledge in many areas, but isn’t very tech savvy. If you have considerable digital assets and/or if many of your records are digital, having someone who can find their way around them easily can be a benefit.

You want to be as certain as possible that potential co-executors can work together. You can outline what areas you want each to handle. However, you want people who will respect those boundaries, yet collaborate when they need to. From a practical standpoint, it’s also generally best if they live near each other (and the property in the estate).

Your Tennessee estate planning attorney can provide valuable guidance as you make decisions regarding your executor(s). They can also help you through all aspects of your estate planning.