How to Name an Executor or Personal Representative

By Maggie Lourdes

An executor, also called a personal representative, is the person in charge of distributing property to heirs and settling a decedent's estate. A female appointed to handle an estate is sometimes called an executrix. Naming an executor in a will avoids the need for a court-appointed executor after death and usually saves the estate money. This is because court-appointed executors generally charge high fees in contrast to relatives or friends who are chosen to serve.

An executor, also called a personal representative, is the person in charge of distributing property to heirs and settling a decedent's estate. A female appointed to handle an estate is sometimes called an executrix. Naming an executor in a will avoids the need for a court-appointed executor after death and usually saves the estate money. This is because court-appointed executors generally charge high fees in contrast to relatives or friends who are chosen to serve.

Naming an Executor

Step 1

Choose an executor who is responsible, competent, trustworthy and willing to serve. Check executor restrictions in your state since some jurisdictions prohibit felons from serving or have special requirements for executors living out-of-state. Also check state age requirements since executors usually must be at least 18 years old.

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Step 2

Include a provision in your will that specifically appoints the person of your choice as executor of your estate. When drafting your will, you should always consider consulting a legal advisor or online legal document service. Make the appointment direct and clear. For example, "I hereby nominate John Doe to serve as executor of my estate." Consider appointing an alternate executor in case your first choice is unable to serve. For example, "If John Doe cannot or will not act as my estate's executor, I nominate Jack Smith as alternate executor."

Step 3

Consider waiving bond requirements for your executor. This means your executor will not need to post a bond to begin probating the estate. Also consider allowing for an independent or unsupervised probate of your estate. This allows for a quicker process since the executor, who then may be referred to as an independent administrator, can act with less probate court involvement. Check your state laws and carefully consider your particular circumstances when making decisions about bonds and independent probate directions.

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Can the Executor of a Will Be a Blood Relative?

References

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Can You Make Someone an Executor in a Will Without Going Through a Lawyer?

When you write a will, you need to name an executor. An executor is the person responsible for carrying out your final directions and wishes regarding your property and belongings. The person you name as executor should be trustworthy and responsible, as she'll have to manage your entire estate. You don't need a lawyer to make a will or to name an executor. You also don't have to ask a person for permission before naming her as executor in your will, although it is in your best interest to do so. If your chosen executor decides she doesn't want the responsibility after you die, the court will have to find another person to manage your estate. The lack of an executor will delay probate, the court proceedings necessary to settle your last affairs. A probate delay may financially affect your loved ones if they're relying on money from your estate to pay bills.

How to Make Someone the Executor of a Will

You need to cover the important aspects of your estate in your will, including who you are leaving assets to, how much each beneficiary will get and who your executor is. You may make a person your executor by naming him as such in your will. However, your will needs to be valid in your state so your executor can get the authority he needs in probate court. Before you, the testator, create your will, check your state's laws regarding will creation and allowable will types.

Probate Law in the State of West Virginia

When a West Virginia resident dies, his property must pass to new owners according to the terms of West Virginia’s probate laws. These laws, found in Chapters 41 and 42 of the West Virginia Code, govern the creation of a will, who inherits from you if you don’t have a will, and how your estate will be administered after your death.

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