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Pros and cons of choosing one of your heirs to be your estate’s executor

On Behalf of | Jul 22, 2021 | Estate Planning

It isn’t at all uncommon for someone to name one or more of their beneficiaries as the executor or co-executors of their estate. This is particularly true when parents name an adult child as both their heir and the executor of their will.

There are pros and cons to this approach, however, that should be considered in advance.

Advantages of an executor who is also an heir

Being a beneficiary means that the person is more than likely very familiar with the deceased. Having had a close relationship with the departed makes the job of the executor quite a bit easier. 

For example, knowing where to look for the deceased’s assets may be simpler. Contacting financial institutions and creditors is often easier as a relative or spouse of the deceased.

Disadvantages of an executor who is also an heir

Losing someone close to you is a traumatic and often emotional experience. Having the additional responsibility of executing the will can add pressure to an already difficult time. Having to oversee the transfer of assets to other beneficiaries, paying off outstanding debts of the deceased, closing accounts and wrapping up other financial affairs can be overwhelming for those that are grieving. 

Paying off the deceased’s final debts subtracts from the assets that would otherwise go to beneficiaries. Executors that are beneficiaries can have a conflict of interest in this regard. This makes it even more important to make sure that the executor of the will is someone that can be trusted to do the right thing.

When it comes to deciding who will be the executor of the last will and testament, there are many factors to consider. and it is important to know more about the executor’s role. Sometimes a beneficiary is a perfect person to execute a will. Other times, the most prudent choice is selecting a neutral and impartial party. When you’re planning your estate, carefully consider all your options.