Individuals in Iowa and throughout the country are allowed to name the same person to be both the executors of their estates and as successor trustees. However, just because an individual is allowed to do so doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a good idea. A successor trustee is called upon to manage a living trust in the event that its creator becomes incapacitated. Often, the person who creates the trust will serve as the primary trustee.
An executor is responsible for ensuring that an estate is settled in accordance with a deceased person’s wishes. This person must generally inventory assets, pay taxes and distribute assets to beneficiaries as instructed in a will. One of the benefits of naming the same person to both roles is that it will take less time to settle the estate. The less time that is spent settling a person’s affairs, the less money his or her estate will need to pay to do so.
However, it is important to consider whether it is a good idea to give too much control to one person. Instead, it may be better to name a child as executor and another child or children as successor trustees. This can help to minimize conflicts between siblings as they would all have a say as to how a parent’s assets were managed.
Ideally, individuals will not rush into decisions regarding who to name as an executor or successor trustee. Taking time to think about these decisions may maximize the likelihood of choosing people who are suited for these roles. An estate planning attorney may be able to help an individual make these and other decisions about how their assets should be managed. In most cases, new executors or successor trustees can be appointed if the need arises.