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Jointly and Severally Appointed Executors

I’m doing my will and naming my two children as executors. The problem is that my one child lives 1500 km away. Can I appoint them “jointly and severally” so that they can each act for the estate on their own?”

Executors are “trustees” of the estate and have a fiduciary duty to protect the beneficiaries’ best interests in administering it.

They can bind the estate contractually, but they have personal liability exposure for all decisions made. In so saying, the executors really should act together in making decisions.

An appointment of two individuals “jointly and severally” as Executors would expose them both to liability for decisions made by the other, potentially with no knowledge or input.

The problem of the executors being far away can usually be overcome, as the executors don’t have to be present and together at the same time.

One executor can undertake the task of sorting out the estate issues and then present the issue to the other wherever that executor resides. If there is agreement, they can each sign the agreement or tax form or banking documentation independently by their signatures and scanning or faxing the documents between themselves and then delivering it to whomever it is that requires it.

Two heads (acting together) is, as they say, better than one.

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