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Would two heads be better than one in administering your estate?

You had enough on your plate trying to decide how to divide your estate and figure out who will receive what assets after you pass away. Now, you face the daunting challenge of choosing someone to serve as the executor of your estate.

You probably see pros and cons in each of the people you have to choose from and can't quite make up your mind. Perhaps, your interests would be better served by choosing two people to administer your estate. That way, you could get the best qualities of each person, but it may not all be good news.

Compelling reasons to appoint two executors

You may find that having two executors would work best in your situation, particularly under the following circumstances:

  • You have two children, and you don't want one of them feeling slighted or less valued by you.
  • You want to name your spouse as an executor but feel it may be too much for him or her in the aftermath of your death, so you also name an attorney or one of your children to work with your spouse.
  • You may have a multitude of assets, which may be too much for one person to handle alone.
  • You may feel as though one person would work better with your real estate holdings while another person attends to the remaining assets in your estate.

If you choose two people who can agree on how to administer your estate, appointing both of them to work together may best serve your wishes. Moreover, having someone to split the load with will remove some of the stress of an already challenging task.

Compelling reasons not to appoint two executors

While the above may make appointing co-executors a good idea, there are downsides to every proposition. Some of them in this scenario include the following:

  • The most obvious downside of two executors is that they may not agree, which will slow down the probate process.
  • Your co-executors are equally responsible for every decision and task. If one of them is not available, it will slow down the administration of your estate.
  • The tension between your co-executors could escalate to the point where they end up in court because one wants to remove the other as executor.

As you decide whether to appoint two people to administer your estate, it's important to look at the prospect from as many angles as possible. You may find it easier to do so by consulting with a New York estate-planning attorney who can give you an honest assessment of both the pros and cons of this decision as it pertains to your unique circumstances.

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