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Virginia Beach Estate Planning Lawyer / Blog / Estate Planning / Why Naming Children As Co-Executors Could Be Harmful

Why Naming Children As Co-Executors Could Be Harmful

Many of my clients ask if they should name their children as co-executors to their will. Often clients believe that naming just one child as executor will offend their other children or that the oldest child should be named as executor as some sort of honor. However, this is untrue – being an executor is a responsibility and requires much work and responsibility.

What makes matters worse is that naming children as co-executors could cause conflict in the family and delay the settlement of your estate. Lack of communication or disagreements about whether to sell real estate or how to distribute personal property could delay the closing of the estate and even cause the co-executors to resort to costly and time-consuming court proceedings to resolve the disagreements. Furthermore, many parents name children who do not get along with each other as co-executors to ensure that their children will be forced to communicate with one another after their parent’s death. This scenario can only lead to conflict and disagreement and could contribute to the further breakdown of family relationships.

Rather than naming children as co-executors, we often recommend that one child be named as executor while the other children are named as successor executors (one child as first successor executor, another child as second successor executor, and so on). This ensures that if one child is unwilling or unable to serve as executor, the other children can still be involved in the decision making process. It is important to meet with an experienced estate planning attorney when formulating your estate plan to ensure that your estate will be closed efficiently and your family’s relationships will remain intact after you pass away.

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