An executor’s responsibility in Minnesota is to manage the estate during probate and ensure that the testator’s wishes as expressed in the last will and testament are carried out. Performing this task is not as hard as many people might believe it to be, but it is a job best managed by a single person instead of two or more co-executors.
Much of an executor’s job is relatively mundane. For example, the executor will have to submit an inventory of all estate property to the court, sign checks to cover estate expenses, and ensure that title to property is properly transferred to new owners. If the estate has two or more executors, each of them will have to perform these tasks, often at the same time. This makes the already rule-heavy probate process even more unwieldy. It will also probably mean that it takes a longer time to settle the estate than it would if only one person served as the executor.
People who create an estate plan often have several goals, some of which are not compatible with others. For example, parents who have two children often want to appear fair and impartial. When they choose an executor, they often want to choose both children in an effort to appear fair.
While appearing fair is an excellent goal, choosing co-executors is not the way to do it. If you are worried about fairness, choose a professional executor or someone other than your children.
You can learn about wills and other estate planning tools at one of our next free estate planning seminars on July 23 through the 25th. They will be in Grand Forks, North Dakota, as well as Thief River Falls, Minnesota. The seminars are free and open to the public, but you should contact our office for registration details.