How Do I Pick an Executor of My Will?

By Jill Lewis

An executor of a will is someone you name in your will to manage your affairs after your death. An executor is responsible for handling your financial obligations, distributing your assets and paying creditors according to your wishes and the terms of your will. Because an executor has a legal duty to properly manage your affairs, picking the right executor is crucial to ensuring your heirs receive their assets promptly and to avoid any potential will contests.

Step 1

Consult with family or friends. The most popular choice for an executor is a family member or friend, because they are the ones most likely to know and respect your wishes. While an executor is not required to have any legal or financial knowledge, he may need to attend court proceedings and comply with complicated state regulations, so it is important to choose a family member or friend that is competent, organized and willing to take on the responsibilities of the position.

Step 2

Consider a professional. If your will involves complicated tax issues or property distribution, it may be simpler to pick a professional as executor of your will. People often choose accountants or lawyers to be the executors because these professionals are generally better equipped to handle the legal duties that come with being an executor, including any court appearances or estate taxation issues.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan

Step 3

Understand the duties of an executor. Executors must allocate property to beneficiaries, pay creditors as necessary from the assets of the estate, account to the probate court for their actions, maintain any personal or real property, and pay any taxes. Knowing these responsibilities will help you pick the person best suited for the role of executor.

Step 4

Name an alternate executor. Picking an alternate executor is a good idea in case there are any problems with the person you initially chose as executor. Some people may not want to take on the responsibility of executor when the time comes, and choosing an alternative will avoid having the probate court pick one of its own volition.

Step 5

Keep restrictions in mind. In general, executors need to be 18 years old or over, free of felony convictions and meet locality requirements. Research your state statutes or consult with an attorney to determine the exact restrictions for your state.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan
How to Choose an Executor for a Will
 

References

Related articles

When to Get a Lawyer for Estate Probate Problems

After a loved one’s death, hiring a lawyer and potentially entering into a legal dispute is not an appealing choice. Taking a case to probate court can also be an expensive and lengthy process. The probate process can be complex, however. Laws for estate and probate matters differ from state to state and in certain cases, trying to handle complicated or contested estate problems yourself may be even more costly and time consuming.

What Is an Appointed Executor of a Will?

A person names an executor, also called a personal representative, in her will. When the person dies, her will must be probated. Probate judges generally honor decedents' wishes by formally appointing executors identified in wills. If a person dies without a will, the court chooses someone to administer the decedent's estate. Relatives are usually considered first. However, if none are available, any party the court deems fit may serve.

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.

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

Related articles

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 ...

Legal Process of Benefactors in a Will

When you create a will, you leave directions for your loved ones to follow when distributing your estate. Your ...

Can the Beneficiary Be the Executor of a Will?

Most states do not have any laws against a beneficiary in a will also serving as the executor, or the person charged ...

Can the Executor of a Will Be a Blood Relative?

The executor of your will is the person who carries out your instructions and wishes as written in your will, according ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED