Can the Executor of a Will Be a Blood Relative?

By A.L. Kennedy

The executor of your will is the person who carries out your instructions and wishes as written in your will, according to FindLaw. In most states, the executor can be any competent adult. An executor may be related to you by blood or marriage, but does not have to be, according to FindLaw.

The executor of your will is the person who carries out your instructions and wishes as written in your will, according to FindLaw. In most states, the executor can be any competent adult. An executor may be related to you by blood or marriage, but does not have to be, according to FindLaw.

Definition

An executor is someone named in the will or by the court to take care of any financial obligations and distribute your estate according to your instructions. The U.S. Code defines the "executor" as the person named by you or appointed by a probate court to do the executor's work, or whoever actually has control of your property if there is no formal executor.

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Requirements

There are few legal rules stating who you can and cannot choose as executor of your estate. In most states, the executor can be any person who is a legal adult and who is mentally competent to handle money and legal matters, according to FindLaw. You may choose anyone who meets these requirements to be your executor, including blood relatives or relatives by marriage.

Qualifications

Although the law allows you to appoint a blood relative as your executor, consider both personal qualifications and family dynamics carefully before you choose an executor, advises FindLaw. Emotions run high after a death, and your beneficiaries may assume the worst of your choice of executor. In addition to choosing someone you trust to follow the law and your will's instructions, you may want to choose someone who can negotiate family relationships and smooth ruffled feathers when necessary.

Alternate Executor

Because being an executor requires work and facing family stress, you may want to ask your chosen executor if she is willing to serve before naming her in your will. In addition, you may want to name an alternate or "backup" executor if the first one cannot serve or changes her mind about agreeing to serve after your death. Like your first choice of executor, your alternate choices can be blood relatives, and should also be chosen carefully.

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How to Name an Executor or Personal Representative

References

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Related articles

What if the Executor of a Will Is Dead?

The person you name in your will to manage your estate is called the executor. Other terms include fiduciary or personal representative. This person's duties include gathering your assets, paying taxes and bills owed by your estate and distributing the remaining assets to your beneficiaries according to the terms of your will. If the person you named as the executor is not available or is unwilling to serve for any reason, your state's laws allow the court to appoint someone else as executor.

Do I Have the Right to Choose Who I Want to Handle My Estate After I Die Even If I'm Not Married?

Whether or not you are married has nothing to do with the ability to choose who will handle your estate when you die. When you make a will, you typically name an executor, called a personal representative in some states, to manage and distribute your estate. You can name a friend, relative, attorney or financial professional as your executor. The executor may or may not be a beneficiary of your estate.

Does the Executor of an Estate Have Control of a Body?

Emotions run high when a loved one dies and, in the midst of their grief, family members may be less likely to compromise about things, like the decedent’s funeral arrangements. Thus, it may be necessary for someone to exert control over such matters. Typically, the executor named in the decedent’s will has authority to make funeral decisions, unless the decedent made other provisions.

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