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

By Anna Assad

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.

Step 1

Talk to the person you want to name executor. Confirm that she understands what an executor does and what her responsibilities will be. Tell her where you are storing your will, so she doesn't have trouble finding the document when you die.

Step 2

Name the person you chose as the executor in the appointment or naming section of the will. Write in her full legal name where indicated if you're using a will form. Don't use nicknames.

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Step 3

Use state-required wording for nominating an executor if you're writing the will yourself. Wording differs by state; check the official website of your county's probate or surrogate's court to find state laws regarding executor nomination wording in a will. An example of a common acceptable phrasing is, "I hereby name, appoint and constitute (executor's name here) as the executor of my Last Will and Testament."

Step 4

Complete your will. Both you and at least one witness over 18 need to sign the will. State laws vary on how many witnesses you need. Check with the county probate court for laws relating to proper final will execution.

Step 5

Store the will in the spot you told the executor. Tell your executor if you change the will's location later.

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Does the Executor of a Will Have to Use an Attorney to Execute the Will?

References

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How to Make Your Own Will Forms

A will is a document that tells a probate court how to distribute the assets of the person who wrote the will -- known as the testator -- after he dies. A will must be prepared in accordance with state law or it will not be enforced. The laws of the various states differ somewhat on what is required to create a valid will. If your will is declared invalid, your property will be distributed among your relatives in accordance with the state intestacy law.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Add an Executor to My Will?

Even after you make a will and sign it, you can change it. Over time, you may want to change beneficiaries or executors to reflect changes in your family or friends. You don't need a lawyer to change your will, but you must make sure your changes meet your state's legal requirements.

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You are due an inheritance, but you have a problem with the way the executor is doing his job. Depending on the estate in question and the laws of the state, the probate process can be quite complex, but there is a structure to the process. Distribution of the assets of the estate to beneficiaries named in the will or to heirs under intestate succession usually come at the end.

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