Part of estate planning is choosing an executor to manage your final affairs. Whether or not you were aware of it, there are rules that govern who can serve as your executor. If you fail to choose a proper executor, your affairs might be mismanaged or there could be challenges to your final wishes. Here is what you need to know about choosing an executor.
Who Cannot Be an Executor?
Depending on the state in which you live, the executor cannot be younger than 18 years of age. In some states, the age required is 21.
The executor cannot be someone who is not a U.S. resident or who has a felony conviction. A person who is legally in the country on a visa or green card can possibly serve as the executor if he or she meets the other requirements.
If the person you are considering has been judged to be incapacitated and unable to handle his or her own affairs, he or she cannot be your executor.
Some states have additional restrictions that could limit your choices. For instance, in North Carolina, an illiterate person cannot be your executor.
Can Someone Out-of-State Serve as the Executor?
If your choice for executor lives out of state, it is possible that special requirements have to be met for him or her to serve. The requirements can vary based on state law.
For instance, in some states, a co-executor who lives within the state might be required. You could still list your first choice as the executor, but the in-state executor must be part of the decision-making for the estate.
Your executor might also have to post a bond with the court before working on the estate. The bond is used to protect the beneficiaries and the estate in the event the executor mishandles the assets.
How Can You Avoid Problems?
If an appropriate executor is not named in your will or the person you choose cannot serve, it could fall to the court to choose an executor. To keep this from happening, you can take steps during estate planning to ensure someone you trust is managing your estate.
For instance, you could select an alternate. He or she would take over the duties of executor if your first choice cannot serve. You can also hire an attorney to serve as the executor. If you opt to do this, you need to cover his or her payment in your will.
To find out which laws can directly impact your choice for executor, work with an estate attorney.
Hello, I'm Christina Miller. Have you ever been fascinated with why the law works the way it does? Ever since I was in junior high, I had an intense interest in anything related to our legal system, whether it be a crime drama on television, a judge show or a legal case covered on the news. I followed it all. As time progressed, I began learning about how the actual legal system worked and not just the fictionalized version of our legal system. This has lead me to start writing my own blog posts about law that I hope will help others.