SELECTING AN EXECUTOR IN ALABAMA: SOLE EXECUTOR OR CO-EXECUTORS?
Updated: Oct 5, 2021
Are you facing the difficult decision of appointing an executor of your Last Will & Testament in Alabama and whether to name one or more executors? I have found that clients often focus too much on “fairness” when deciding which child should serve as executor of a Last Will & Testament in Alabama. This frequently leads to the conclusion that their children should be co-executors, despite the increased chance for conflict and without acknowledging that one child is usually better suited to serve. My general advice – and there are exceptions – is that one person (usually a child) should serve as executor and "fairness" considerations should be reserved for passing assets.
Why NOT have co-executors?
Efficiency. The Alabama probate process is generally more efficient with one executor, who can make decisions on their own without consulting with or negotiating with a sibling.
They Can Still Be Held Accountable. A sole executor is bound by law to follow the terms of the Will and the statutory process for administering estates in Alabama, so they still have to act lawfully and ethically and can be held accountable by beneficiaries and creditors if they commit wrongdoing.
Avoid Disagreements. There is less room for disagreement when only one person has the authority to carry out the business of administering the estate since there are fewer joint decisions to make.
Choose the Best Person for the Job. One child usually is more responsible and has skills more suitable to administering an estate than the other child(ren), and the beneficiaries will ultimately benefit from a well-administered estate, even if they are disappointed not to be named co-executors.
Reduce the Burden. Serving as executor is often more of a burden than a benefit, so why place that burden on more than one person if it is unnecessary?
Consult with one of our Alabama probate attorneys before nominating the executor(s) of your Last Will & Testament. There are certain situations where nominating co-executors is optimal.
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