What is the law regarding responsibilities of the co executor of a will?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 26, 2016
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I am a co-executor for a will which is being divided among two sides of a family (the deceased husband's relatives and the deceased wive's relatives). Is my responsibility to protect the interest all of the beneficiaries or simply my side of the family? I ask this question because there is a considerable amount of money in question which was held in "convenience accounts" by the other's co-executors daughter. We are going after this money, and feel the other co-executor should step down because of a conflict of interest with her daughter. What is the law regarding responsibilities of the co-executor?

Expert Answers

Judy and Fred co-mediate family property and financial conflicts, and each work individually as mediators as well. Judy Barber, a mediator and family business consultant, assists clients in resolving overlapping family and money conflicts so they are better able to make sound estate planning decisions. Frederick Hertz is an attorney and mediator who specializes in resolving co-ownership matters involving families, siblings, spouses, cohabitants and domestic partners.

You are in a sticky situation there and you are asking all the right questions --but this is not something we can answer for you. The answer depends on the precise language of the will, and how your state law is worded. Generally speaking you are supposed to act neutrally to carry out the intention of the will, and not favor EITHER side of the family. Both of you are supposed to put aside your personal agendas or family loyalties and do what the testator wanted - not what you or your other relatives would like to see happen. If the two of you cannot agree then you may want to meet with a neutral mediator, to see if that can help resolve the dispute. And if in the end you cannot reach agreement, it may be necessary for both of you to step aside and have a third, neutral person step in as the sole executor. As for what the law requires, that is something you should discuss with a local estate attorney.