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.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan

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.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan
How to Make Someone the Executor of a Will


Related articles

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.

How to Choose an Executor for a Will

Choosing the executor of your estate is one of the first steps in drafting your will. It's important to select someone in whom you have confidence and trust, as well as someone who takes the responsibility of being the executor or your estate seriously. If you consult an attorney for help with estate planning, she will guide you through a series of questions to assist you in selecting the executor of your estate. However, if you prepare your own will, make sure you have the necessary information that will help you make the right choice.

Who Enforces the Execution of a Will?

In drafting your will, you may appoint a person to serve as your executor, also known as a personal representative. This person will have the responsibility of carrying out your wishes pursuant to the will. Because the executor has a number of responsibilities and can be held personally responsible if they are not properly carried out, carefully consider appointing someone who is trustworthy and capable of carrying out the somewhat complicated probate process.

LegalZoom. Legal help is here. Start Here. Wills. Trusts. Attorney help. Wills & Trusts

Related articles

How to Address the Executor of an Estate in a Letter

Think of your executor as the co-pilot of your assets; when you are no longer able to captain your affairs, she takes ...

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

When you create a will, you not only leave instructions for how your property should be distributed upon death, you ...

How to Execute a Last Will and Testament

A last will and testament is a document used to distribute the property after the property owner dies. The person who ...

How to Make Out a Simple Will

If you have property, you should have a will. This document specifies how your assets should be divided on your death, ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED