Can a co-signing executor be liable for debts?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can a co-signing executor be liable for debts?

A family member has requested that I be a backup executor for her, second after her husband. I’m not sure that’s legal without the husband’s written permission. Could I become personally responsible for any outstanding debts that her account/assets can’t pay off?

Asked on May 24, 2017 under Estate Planning, South Carolina


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

First of all, the primary executor need not give their consent as to the appointment of a "contingent" (i.e. backup) executor; it is a decision that is solely up to the maker of the Will. As for personal iability for debts, etc., an executor bears no such iability unless they themselves commit some form of negligence or are guilty of wrong doing of some kind (e.g. take money for their own benefit, etc.).

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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