My in-laws just told me and my husband that they want my husband to be both the will executor and trustee. They want to work it so their assets will be placed in a trust to avoid probate. He accepted this job and the details are still being worked. The only thing we worry about is my husband and his sister didn't get along at all in childhood and haven't spoken in years. I have not even met her as a result of this despite having been dating + married to him for so many years. The sister is being given 1 important role, medical power of attorney, because she lives only a few minutes' drive away from his parents and could act faster if needed. This makes sense. We currently live several hours away. Being ER, we could easily stay in his parents' town if something happens, but that would require a day or two to act, so we couldn't help with medical things as much. But the sister isn't very reliable for many reasons and thus why this was the only responsibility she was given. His parents will probably be around for another 10-15 years or so, but whenever they do both die - hopefully the sister doesn't try to cause any drama. We have the time to take care of his parents' estate however is needed, but I don't like family drama in general. :/
Redbird, this gave me chills to read, especially the bolded parts. My brain is screaming Nooooooooooooo!
Your in-laws are thinking "acute medical emergency, where time is of the essence", which is actually a less common scenario than "gradual age-related decline". In this day of efficient communication, proximity does not trump reliability. For context, both of my parents have passed away in the last two years. I have alluded to this situation upthread. I don't want to discuss it at great length, but for your sake, I will share what, I assure you, is only the tip of the Titanic-sized iceberg..
I'm from a large family. When my parents established their trust, they gave two sisters medical POA and made a brother and me executors and trustees, with the intent of easing the burden*. From sad experience, I can tell you it didn't work out so well, as the line between the responsibilities gets fuzzy with age. For example, parents were both in a rehab facility for different reasons. Dad improved and no longer qualified for insurance coverage, but couldn't really go home. He didn't want to, because he wanted to be near mom. He was incontinent, barely ambulatory and couldn't get back and forth on his own. For him to stay there cost nearly 12k per month out of pocket. Medical decision or financial decision? We agreed to keep him there, but medical POA/spendthrift sister kept doing things llike ordering physical therapy at added cost (!) so dad would get "better". Dad didn't want it but didn't have the energy to fight with her, so he would go and do absolutely nothing. The facility happily and expensively kept up this charade until the fiscal team intervened.
Next, the spendthrift medical POA sister (hereafter, Sister X) lived closest to my parents, and was conveniently unemployed (by choice). As they aged, my parents relied on her to get to medical appointments, do pharmacy and grocery runs, etc. Over time, it became "easier" if she was on their credit cards. As they got less comfortable driving, my sister started using their car for all of her own driving, charging all gas and maintenance to their CC. They bought a new car and within three years, my jobless sister racked up 77k miles on it.
My parents paid her for her time*, then started paying her rent, too. Pretty soon she was buying all her own groceries, plus whatever else she wanted, with her copy of their Costco Amex Card. Gradually, my parents grew terribly dependent on her and she grew to resent them. Not enough to get a job, of course. But enough to feel that jaunts to casinos on their credit card were justified, to the tune of Eleven Thousand Dollars before we caught on. (Thanks, facebookr!) None of us resented the money my parents were giving her until that came to light and she was completely unrepentant. Yup, when questioned, she said she deserved it and enjoyed spending the money, accckk!!!
I could sadly go on, but this drama is still unfolding and I haven't the stomach to write more about it yet. Just know that dividing these duties may backfire in ways none of you can imagine. For everyone's sake, have a heart-to-heart with all parties and encourage them to consider this decision more carefully.
*My mom was a geriatric nurse and Director of Nurses at a large Convalescent Hospital, as there were called in her day, for 25 years. She'd seen first hand all the family drama and thought she had done everything she could to see that it didn't happen in her family. She hated that they grew so dependent on Sister X. She would call and say they hadn't heard from Sister X for four days or that Sister X had promised to be over in the morning, but hadn't shown up at all that day, etc.