Do You Have to Notify Someone If They Are No Longer the Executor of Your Will?

By Christine Funk, J.D.

Do You Have to Notify Someone If They Are No Longer the Executor of Your Will?

By Christine Funk, J.D.

The short answer to the question, "Do you have to notify someone if they are no longer the executor of your will?" is "No." However, given the importance of the duties of an executor of a will, a short discussion about whether or not you should notify someone if they are no longer the executor of your will is in order.

Two older women looking over documents

Understanding the Purpose of an Executor

An executor is a trusted individual who is responsible for executing your wishes as expressed in your will. An executor does some or all of the following tasks:

  • Locates and identifies assets
  • Locates and contacts beneficiaries
  • Notifies creditors about the death
  • Closes accounts, such as bank accounts
  • Establishes a bank account for the estate
  • Makes payments for ongoing obligations, such as mortgage payments
  • Pays off debts
  • Calculates and pays income taxes
  • Calculates and pays estate taxes
  • Distributes assets
  • Makes legal decisions about whether probate is necessary based on the size of the estate and state laws

Because of the important tasks an executor is responsible for and because some of these tasks should be done as soon as possible, it is a good idea to make certain the person who is the executor knows they are the executor and that anyone who is not the executor is not laboring under the false impression that they are the executor.

Reviewing and Changing Your Will

It is a good idea to review your will and other estate planning documents every three years or so. Every family's needs change as they grow. As children grow older, they may feel more comfortable with someone other than the originally identified guardian. A person may have more wealth later in life than they did when they first wrote their will. As time goes on and things change, it is reasonable to expect the contents of the will to need modification.

At a minimum, you should make certain the executor of the will and the guardians for your children are still willing and able to carry out the duties to which they agreed. You should also review the will to make certain that identified beneficiaries are still alive and that you still want them to receive the property. You can make most changes to the will through a codicil. Alternatively, if the changes are numerous or significant, you can write a new will and revoke the previous one. Of course, it is a good idea to consult with someone, such as an online service provider, to assist in modifications or rewrites of a will.

Discussing the Terms of Your Will

If you choose, you may keep the terms of your will a secret until your death. However, given the time and responsibility required of an executor of a will, it is a good idea to discuss this obligation with the person ahead of time and periodically as time goes on to ensure their continued commitment to the task. If, at some point, you have a falling out with your previously selected executor or you no longer feel that person is the best person for the job, you should consider letting them know so there will be no confusion upon your death. Alternatively, you may choose to let the new executor know that you previously identified someone else as executor but haven't told them they have been replaced. This way, the new executor can handle that task upon your death.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.