What if the Will Names Two Executors?

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Wills with two executors often face difficulties when decisions must be made.
Wills with two executors often face difficulties when decisions must be made.

When a person writes a will, he typically names one person in it to be the executor. The executor is the person who handles all of the financial matters of this person when he dies. There are many times when a person chooses two executors for his will. Each executor is considered a co-executor. Co-executors must work together to handle the finances of the deceased person.

  1. Purpose

    • A person might name two executors on his will if he has two children. This might also occur to protect the assets the person owned. If the person writing the will wants to ensure that his estate is handled appropriately, naming two executors may help accomplish this. With two executors, the duties are handled by both, or split between the two, depending on the particular case.

    Duties

    • Both co-executors must handle many types of financial matters. This includes paying the bills of the deceased person. A deceased person might not leave any outstanding debts; however, many other types of bills might arise, such as funeral costs and property taxes and insurance. The executors must also divide up the deceased's assets according to the wishes of the deceased. This information is listed in the will but can sometimes be vague. For example, if a will states that all assets are to be divided equally between two named beneficiaries, there might be uncertainty in exactly how to split those assets equally.

    Decisions

    • Co-executors are equally responsible for making financial decisions and splitting up the assets and liabilities. If the co-executors cannot agree, problems can arise. In this case, the co-executors might seek help from attorneys.

    Replacement Executor

    • Sometimes a will names a second executor as an alternative if the first executor named does not work out. In this case, the first executor named is given the authority to make all decisions related to carrying out the will. If this person dies, is unable to accomplish the task of carrying out the will or is doing so improperly, the replacement executor is given responsibility for carrying out the will. For this to happen, the replacement executor must typically hire an attorney and attend a court date. Most changes in wills, including changes of executors, must be made through the court system.

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