The Art of the Executors
‘I appoint my sister Janet Smith and my brother-in-law John as the executors of my will’ Many will have this form of words.
I’m in a charitable mood, I’ll accept your sister Janet was the most suitable executor to your will. We’ll look further into Janet’s suitability another time.
The Bliss of Marriage
Unfortunately, we need the most legalistic of approaches for a brief while. Marriage, for this purpose, is a contract. All contracts end. A marriage might end as the parties had intended – ‘till death us do part’ is the general from of words implied at the outset of marriage. Often it is spoken in the vows at the wedding ceremony. About six in ten marriages end thus.
Alas, your sister Jane’s marriage might be one of those that end in divorce. We, after all, talk of the incalculable fluctuations of human passions. All things being equal, the chance this is 42%. Like me, you’ve seen enough of life to have encountered, or at least understand the phrase: ‘bitter divorce’.
In my experience, appointing a married couple as joint executors in a will robs the will of oversight.
Unfortunately, your sister divorced John. What if the parting of ways was ugly? You’d have left your estate, the blessing of your hard work and industry in the hands of a warring couple.
Oh what a waste?
Oh what a mess?
The Right Executors
This, ladies and gentlemen is why I hesitate to appoint relatives by marriage to any of the functions or duties in wills.
What to Read Next: Is a Mirror Will Right For You?
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