Co-Administrators in Probate – another problem

I am often asked by prospective probate clients if they can serve as co-administrators or co-executors or co-personal representatives. For all practical purposes those three things are the same but the key is the word “CO.”  Co as in two or joint or together. That is usually two siblings want to work together so they can share in the duties.

I have some clients who are currently acting as co-administrators in their father’s probate estate in a California court. They are friends and get along fine as far as I know.  I represent both of them as co-administrators in this matter. Their experience today caused me to make this post.

The main reason I don’t like co-administrators is it requires paperwork to be sent to one and then on to the other as both need to sign many documents throughout the probate case. This is a minor deal but it’s a pain nonetheless.  Other than that it’s really not a huge deal to serve together as co unless they hate each other then it might be worse. I had that case years ago and I won’t get into it but it took about 10 years to finish due to their fighting. LOL!

So today these two went to a very large bank that goes by the initials B of A and was originally called the Bank of Italy. Ok, I’ll tell you they went to a Bank of America or more specifically a Merrill Lynch location. They were told they need proof of independent authority as the aforementioned bank and/or financial institution does not do joint authority.

Soooooooo what should you do if you are thinking about co-administration!?  Well I would think long and hard because what a pain it is if you can’t open an account at the bank you want!

I know another client was able to open a joint probate account at Charles Schwab so that should be an option for you to consider. However, you  might look into this before filing for probate so you are prepared.

Good luck!

-John

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