Can I Name an Attorney as My Executor?

New York Estate Planning Attorney Helping Families Appoint Executors

attorney as executorChoosing an executor for your estate is a big task that should not be done in haste. After all, you are naming a party who is responsible for managing assets and debts, and ensuring that your loved ones receive their inheritance as you expected them to.

You can choose anyone you like to fill the role of the executor, including an attorney. You can also name more than one agent and designate a co-executor relationship. This creates more accountability, but also conflict. When you have two parties managing your estate, those two sides could disagree, making the courts decide.

Regardless, the law requires you to name an executor, and you should always name a backup in case your primary agent cannot serve. When you look at your options, you might consider hiring an attorney to be the executor.

Per the statute, you can name an attorney as the executor – doing so can offer numerous benefits to your estate and loved ones.

The Benefits of Paying an Executor

An attorney would be someone who is not personally tied to your estate. While a lawyer is a good option, there is no consensus saying they are better over other options. However, when you pay for an executor, you do get some benefits from hiring a family member to fill the role.

These advantages include:

  • You have someone with no conflict of interest to worry about. When you appoint a family member, they stand to inherit from your estate; therefore, they have a conflict of interest that you should consider. An attorney is not personally tied to the estate and stands to inherit nothing, so they have no conflict of interest with how the estate is handled.
  • Fewer accusations of cheating or fraud from beneficiaries. When family members are appointed as the executor, other family members are more likely to accuse them of cheating or fraudulent behavior, especially if they do not receive the inheritance they wanted. When an attorney is an executor, these accusations are less likely, because a lawyer is following the law, knows the proper procedure, and has nothing to gain from his or her actions with the estate.
  • An attorney can fill his or her duties easier than a family member. An estate attorney understands the law and the obligations of his or her role as the executor. That means they know how to gather assets, deal with taxes and filings, and are not suffering the loss of a loved one while handling multiple tasks of estate distribution.
  • Experience with managing larger estates. A larger estate often requires a business to be set up, a trust established, and multiple accounts juggled. If your estate is larger, it is better to hire an institutional fiduciary or professional fiduciary, like an attorney.
  • Acting out of anticipation. If you think your beneficiaries will contest the will or that your estate will require extensive legal work, hiring an attorney for the role of your executor makes financial sense. They can handle these battles without seeking outside counsel, so you receive a two-for-one service situation.

Explore Your Estate Planning Options and Executor Demands with an Attorney

When you are ready to create your estate plan, consider your executor options, then speak with a lawyer at the Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin, P.C. We can help with estate administration or draft your estate plan. Schedule a free consultation now at 516-605-0625 or request more information online.

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