Can The Beneficiary Of My Estate Also Be My Executor?

I’ve received several emails the past few weeks asking whether it is possible for a beneficiary of an estate to also serve as executor.

Naming someone as the executor of your estate does not preclude him or her from inheriting from you. In fact, the executor can and often is a beneficiary of the estate.

An executor is a person charged with the responsibility of winding up your affairs after you die. The executor’s duties include:

  1. Inventorying and collecting your assets;
  2. Managing the assets during the administration of the estate;
  3. Receiving and paying the claims of creditors and tax collectors; and
  4. Distributing the remaining assets to your beneficiaries.

Since family members are often the people we trust most, appointing family members as executors is very common. For example, spouses often name each other as the executor of their estate. It is also common for a parent to name a son or daughter to serve as executor.

Comments

  1. Trying to decide how to structure my will. I have two daughters. My Will will designate both as executors and equal beneficiaries. 4,000,000 estate. I know that under those circumstances the beneficiaries would waive their executor fees. However, in order to reduce there taxable estate for state purposes, it may be beneficial for them to take executor fees and report the income on their individual returns. Is that option available to them, if the will just states that they are the executors and all assets should be distributed to them equally. In other words, nothing is mentioned with respect to fees. Thank you.

    • The federal estate tax exemption is currently $11,200,000 per person. Texas doesn’t have a state estate tax. I recommend that you engage the services of an attorney to guide you through this issue as well as many others you may not have considered.

Leave a Comment

If you would like to add your perspective to this post or have a general question, please leave a comment. However, if you have a fact-specific legal question, please email me, or communicate with me through my secure client area. To do so, simply login if you are an existing client, or request an introductory conference if you are interested in becoming a new client.