You never expected to find love later in life, but a lot of people do – and you got lucky. You naturally want to make room in your estate plans for your second spouse, but you should probably think twice about naming your new spouse as your executor.
Choosing the right executor for your estate is an important part of estate planning. While it’s not inherently wrong to want to name your spouse your executor, there are some potential complications you may want to consider first:
There could be a conflict of interest
Inheritance battles often involve stepparents and the adult children of the deceased from prior relationships. (Stepmothers get a particularly bad rap for this since women tend to outlive their husbands.) By naming your current spouse your executor, you could be putting them in a position where they cannot avoid a family feud.
The job may be very taxing due to their health and age
Being someone’s executor is a big job, even with a modest estate. In a second marriage, you also have a lot of complicated family dynamics that can happen. That can put your spouse under a tremendous amount of emotional stress on top of what they will already be feeling from your loss. It could be an unduly heavy burden.
A neutral party may be the best way to avoid challenges
Choosing a neutral party to act as your executor can be a preemptive strike against allegations of unfairness or mishandling of the estate. Since your spouse will have a personal interest in the distribution of the estate, removing them from the process can help avoid perceptions of bias or favoritism.
Ultimately, there’s no right direction to take on this issue for everyone. That’s why obtaining legal guidance on the issue is usually best.