A question I am asked frequently is: Should I appoint both my children executors of my will? And my response is always the same: No, not really.
Generally speaking, it is not a good idea to have more than one person appointed to do anything on your behalf. Why? Because once you have more than one person in charge, you are inviting conflict and discourse. Too many chiefs. Of course, the typical response I get from most people is: Oh no, my kids get along fine, they would never fight over my estate. Well, that may be what you think, but the reality in many cases is different. Money and feelings of control have a way of bringing out interesting sides of people.
From a less cynical perspective, some people choose to appoint multiple children as co-executors because they do not want to offend anyone; namely the child who was not appointed. This is an understandable concern, but not a very good reason to name co-executors. If it is true that your children are that emotional about who will be in charge of your estate, it is quite likely they will not work well together when difficult decisions need to be made about your estate and how certain assets should be distributed.
While there may be the risk of offending someone, the decision of who should be your executor should rest first and foremost on the person you feel is most able and willing to take care of your affairs in a reasonable, objective and responsible manner. That really is the standard. And most people have a general sense of who that person should be. Go with your gut.
So my advice to people is: when you are preparing your will and it is time to designate who you want to serve as your executor and trustee for any minor beneficiaries, go with your gut instincts about who would be most suitable to take on that responsibility and stay away from the more emotional concern about who you will be offending. After all, once you leave this earth, you will not be around to hear the griping, nor will you be there to resolve the bickering. Ultimately your kids will be fine, even if a few egos are nicked along the way. Egos heal just fine, especially when your children receive their share of your estate that you worked so hard to amass!
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