If you are in the process of putting together your New York City estate plan, it might be a difficult decision when selecting the executor of your estate. This person might also be known as a fiduciary because of the legal and ethical requirements they must meet to serve in such a role.
The concept of multiple fiduciaries can come up in two ways: if you’re the person creating your NYC estate and want to name more than one person, or if someone you know has recently passed away and you discover that you’re a co-fiduciary.
If you are named along with someone else as a trustee or an executor, this can add a layer of complexity to the administration of these responsibilities. This is because a fiduciary is responsible for actions that they took or the actions of the co-fiduciary. Furthermore, you will also have to monitor the actions of the other fiduciary when serving in this manner. This is one leading reason why many estate planning attorneys caution people about the dangers associated with naming co-executors or co-fiduciaries.
Co-fiduciaries also have to work together to handle different aspects of the estate process. For example, they have to agree to all actions taken in the administration of the trust or the estate unless a governing document allows them to delegate to one or more co-fiduciaries. In the event that a breach of trust occurs with one co-fiduciary, the other fiduciary could be held liable. A fiduciary is also liable if they do not take appropriate action to have a co-fiduciary pay for any damages associated with a breach.
The more that you can understand this the easier it will be for you to plan for your own estate and to appoint the right person in any fiduciary roles. Talk with an NYC estate planning lawyer to learn more.