Category Archives: Estate Planning Online
Hello Liza, My husband and I need to update our wills, they are terribly out of date. Our dilemma is around the question of who should be Executor/Co-Executor of the estate. Obviously we would be the executors of one an others estates, however, if something were to happen to both of us, we need a third party Executor/Co-Executor. We have no obvious relatives, or even close friends that we feel could ask to be an Executor. We’ve understand that a law firm, bank, financial planner, etc.can act as an Executor (or co-Executor). Our question is, what is the financial obligation for doing so? Trust companies, trust departments of banks, and individuals, called professional fiduciaries, can serve as the executor of your estate. There’s no up front fee for nominating an institution or professional to serve in that capacity. They would charge the estate a fee for their services if they are appointed to serve after the death of the second of you. Often, these fees are a percentage of the estate. If your estate goes through probate, your executor is awarded statutory fees based on state law, which are usually a percentage of the value of the estate. Attorneys sometimes serve in this capacity, but, at least in the state where I practice (California) there are strict rules about doing so, because in the past unscrupulous lawyers wrote themselves into client’s documents to generate future fees. Financial advisors often cannot serve due to conflict of interest rules in their companies, but some can. I would advise you to ask your local bank or financial advisor what their fees would be for this service, or if they can recommend anyone in your area who could serve.