Naming someone close to you and your family as the executor of your estate or guardian of your children is viewed as an honor that shows how much you trust that person. However, there are times when the person you trust is not comfortable with serving in the capacity that you require.  Celebrity accountant and business manager Barry Siegel’s much-discussed decision declining to serve as a co-executor of Michael Jackson’s estate serves as a reminder that no matter how prestigious the post may seem, not everyone is willing to serve in the capacity that you wish.  Talking to potential executors and guardians before naming them in your estate plan prevents future conflict that may impact the execution of your will.

Conflicts of Interest

Depending on the size and complexity of your estate it is possible that your chosen executor may have a conflict of interest that was previously overlooked. The person who administrates your will must be able to act in the best interests of all parties named as beneficiary while protecting the estate itself. An executor who has a history of disputes with a beneficiary or one who has expressed interest in part of the estate and is suspected of attempting to use his or her position to purchase or inherit that estate for little or no money could destroy the integrity of your plan.

Inability to Serve

The task of being an executor is time-consuming and often has financial compensation that does not fully reimburse an administrator for the time taken away from work or other duties that are not related to the estate. Even though a person may be close to you and your family, he or she still might not be willing to perform the tasks associated with administering an estate. In some cases, a person may want to perform the duties but due to employment status, health, or other issues, he or she may not have the ability to maintain the required contact between beneficiaries, creditors, and the court that is necessary.

Guardianship Issues

The guardianship of minor children and adults who require special care is a serious responsibility that often involves court oversight. A chosen guardian not only cares for your loved one, he or she must also manage any assets left to the child or disabled adult in his or her care. Close friends who you would like to serve as guardian may not feel comfortable managing financial assets out of fear that their role will put them at odds with family members who feel they should have been appointed. Also, a guardian who has a high-stress career or one that requires a great deal of travel may find the appointment challenged by other relatives who want their loved one to stay close to them.

Discuss Concerns with an Expert

Deciding who should be appointed to feel the most important roles associated with your estate is not something that must be done alone. A conservatorship lawyer is able to provide legal advice regarding appointing guardians and help you decide how to approach an executor. The team at MMZ Law understands how stressful these important decisions are and we are here to give you the legal guidance you need. With a conveniently located office in Claremont, California we can be reached at 909-256-6702 to schedule a private consultation.



341 W. 1st St. Suite 100
Claremont, CA 91711

MARIVEL M. ZIALCITA is the founder of MMZ LAW, A Professional Corporation, where she practices in the areas of Elder Law – Medi-Cal Planning Asset Protection, Trust & Estate, Special Needs, Conservatorship, Trust Administration, & Probate. Ms. Zialcita is a frequent speaker on trust and estate matters and holds memberships in the State Bar of California, Trust and Estate Section, The San Bernardino County Bar Association, Wealth Counsel and Elder Counsel. She currently assists in the pro bono legal services program at the James L. Brulte Senior Center in Rancho Cucamonga, California. She is based in Claremont but assists clients throughout Southern California.

This information is educational information only and not legal advice.