Limit on the Number of Executors of Deceased Estates

by Mary Jane Freeman Google
Naming multiple executors in a will can hinder rather than help the probate process.

Naming multiple executors in a will can hinder rather than help the probate process.

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A person drafting his will is free to name as many executors as he wants to wind up his affairs after he dies. However, having multiple executors can often frustrate the probate process, since all executors must agree before any transaction can be completed.

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Role of Executor

An executor, also known as a personal representative, is the person designated in a will to carry out the wishes of the deceased after his death, as outlined by the terms of the will. These duties include locating the will and delivering it to the probate court, gathering and inventorying the decedent's assets, paying the decedent's funeral costs, taxes and remaining debts, and distributing any remaining assets to the beneficiaries named in the will.

Multiple Executors

The person drafting a will, known as the testator, is usually free to nominate as many executors as he wishes. Parents with multiple children often do this. However, nominating multiple executors is not always recommended. This is because co-executors are required to make all decisions and complete every transaction together, which may prove to be overly burdensome, especially if co-executors live in different states. For example, every co-executor will have to sign each check drawn on the estate's bank account, sign every document required to sell decedent's real estate and other property, and sign-off on all reports delivered to the court. Until every co-executor's consent or signature is given, important matters cannot be resolved. In the alternative, testators can nominate alternate executors, persons who act as executor only when the original executor is unable to serve.