Reasons That You Should Have A Backup Estate Executor

At any age, it's a good idea to give some thought to your estate and what you want to be done with it after your death. Sure, you might not plan on passing away anytime soon, but you need to realize that accidents can happen — and you don't want your family left in the lurch if you die without making any plans about your estate. A good first step is to appoint an executor, whose job is to carry out the tasks in your will — namely, divide your assets according to your wishes and handle all of the paperwork that needs to be completed after a death. You should also give some thought to appointing a backup executor for these reasons.

You And Your Executor Could Die Together

Unfortunately, there are times that two people who are close to one another die at the same time. You and a loved one could be in a car accident together, or you could both succumb to some manner of natural disaster. Many people choose their spouse to serve as their executor, and while this can work well for a long list of reasons, it can also be problematic. If you and your spouse were to pass away at the same time, the status of your estate would be in flux. Should you appoint your spouse as your executor, having a backup executor will provide peace of mind.

Your Executor Could Be Away

There's also a possibility that your executor might not be able to perform this role upon your passing because he or she isn't physically around. For example, if you appoint a sibling or close friend as executor, in part because you live close together, several years could go past and the person could move away. If you don't think of it at the time, there could be an issue if you pass away and the executor lives a four-hour airplane ride from you. In this scenario, a backup executor who lives closer can take charge.

The Executor May Need Help

A backup executor can also play the role of assisting your primary executor. While they'll need to decide how to divide the money that comes with this job, they can work well as a team to alleviate the pressure on the primary executor. Given that your main executor will likely be someone who is very close to you, it can be difficult for this person to manage the executor duties while feeling grief and attempting to get by with his or her day-to-day life. The backup executor can be an asset in this difficult situation.

For more information, contact a local estate planning lawyer or visit sites like