Benefits of Naming a Beneficiary as an Executor

Can An Executor Also Be a Beneficiary?

Can An Executor Also Be a Beneficiary

Serving as the executor of a last will and testament not only requires immense responsibilities but is also a significant time commitment. The executor will oversee the transfer of assets to the named beneficiaries, and also have the obligation of paying off debts and wrapping up various affairs. 

Many executors are estate planning lawyers or accountants; however, it is not uncommon for executors to be a relative, spouse, or child. In this situation, the executor might also be the beneficiary. 

Can An Executor Also Be a Beneficiary?

Yes. In fact, in many ways, it makes sense as executors can often perform their tasks more efficiently because they understand the decedent’s situation. The probate court tends to favor beneficiaries serving as executors and may even prioritize beneficiaries when a judge is appointing an executor. It would not be possible for anyone under 18, with a felony conviction, or who was living out of state and unrelated to the decedent to act as the executor. 

Benefits of Naming a Beneficiary as an Executor

There are some obvious benefits of having a beneficiary serve as the executor of a will. These benefits may include:

  • The beneficiary and executor most likely had a close relationship with the deceased.
  • The closeness of the relationship can make the tasks of the executor easier. 
  • Notifying beneficiaries may be straightforward.
  • Locating assets may be simple, as the executor could have discussed it prior to the decedent’s death. 

If you are the named executor of a will, and also a sole beneficiary, you can waive the fee of the executor which comes directly out of the estate. Waiving this fee may also reduce estate taxes. An estate planning lawyer can discuss this with you in further detail. 

Potential Downsides to Naming a Beneficiary as an Executor

Like any situation, there is a potential for negative consequences to occur. Losing someone can be emotionally difficult, and it may be a struggle for the executor to handle the daily affairs of the person they are grieving. 

If there are many beneficiaries named in the will, there is a risk of encountering jealousy. It is not uncommon for other beneficiaries to decide to challenge the will or to ask a judge to name another executor different from the family member who has been named as the executor.

Furthermore, if there are significant debts to pay off, the executor may need to pay them through the estate. This means the beneficiaries may receive less than what they would have had there not been debts. Naturally, this may present a potential for a dispute to occur. 

Despite the downsides to having a beneficiary serve as the executor of the estate, it is common. If you are planning your will, it is important to ensure the executor you name is trustworthy and competent. Discussing your wants and needs with a estate planning lawyer could help you ensure your estate is planned effectively.