One strategy some people in Orange County use in their estate plans to protect their interests and wishes is designating more than one person to serve as the executor of their estates. Some executors are appreciative of the testator’s consideration to help them split up the responsibilities. Others are not. The problem is not when two executors dislike each other. It is entirely possible for two people to maintain a professional relationship for the sake of an estate. The issue is when co-executors argue and fight.
Relationships and people’s feelings towards each other change all the time. Death is one of many circumstances that can damage and destroy relationships and friendships. Fortunately, there are actions to take to preserve an estate from feuding co-executors.
1. Anticipate disagreements
Ironically, any disagreements that occur between co-executors are at your estate’s expense. If confusion and conflict become unavoidable, the matter could end up in probate. Also, heirs may not receive their inheritances in a timely manner or at all. An estate plan’s effectiveness is only as good as its contingencies. In other words, by anticipating potential issues that could arise, you can make the transition of your assets to loved ones and family members quicker, more efficient and less financially burdensome in some cases.
2. Include a conflict resolution clause
No two people are the same, so disagreements can and will happen periodically. Include conflict resolution provisions in your will for your family and executors to follow when necessary to prevent delays and additional issues and expenses and to possibly avoid probate.
If you decide to name co-executors, do not forget to name executor successors. Just like you can choose family members and loved ones to serve as executors for your estate, they can choose to accept or decline the honor. That way if a potential executor says no, the successor can step up, enabling you to retain control over your estate after death.