Tips for Choosing an Executor of a Will

It can be scary to think about who will take care of your family and your assets after your death. That is why picking the right executor for your Will can be so important. The executor is the person you will name in your Will to administer your estate after your death. You’ll want someone you can trust to follow out your wishes and obey the laws of your state. Here are a few things to keep in mind when picking the executor that is right for you:


Serving as the executor of Will carries a lot of responsibility, and you’ll want to make sure the person you choose is up to the task. Before you choose someone, consider the characteristics of a successful executor:

  • Honest
  • Responsible
  • Well-organized
  • Patient
  • Punctual
  • Good at communication

You may also want to consider the executor’s proximity to the estate’s assets. For example, if you live in Arizona but your executor lives in Alaska, it may be difficult for the appointed person to appear in court, check mail, maintain properties, etc.


You can pretty much name any you want, with a few exceptions. Each state is different, but in general, courts may not allow the following to be appointed as executor of your will:

  • Children under the age of 18
  • Felons
  • Out-of-state executors, unless they are also a primary beneficiary

Check your state’s laws, or ask an attorney, before appointing an executor to make sure they are qualified to serve.


The person you choose isn’t required to have expertise in the law or finances, though it may certainly help. Usually, people will choose a close family member to serve as their executor. Common choices include:

  • Spouse
  • Children
  • Siblings
  • Parents
  • Close friends

Before you assume that someone will serve as executor, be sure to ask for them first. You may even want to inform them of what the job entails and see if they feel up to the task. If they agree, make sure you notify them on the important details of your estate plan, including financial information and the location where the Will is kept. You can even provide them with a copy of the Will before your death, so that they’ll be best prepared when the day comes.


Many people choose a third-party institution, like a bank, law firm, or professional fiduciary company to serve as the executor of their estate. There are many good reasons to do so, especially if you don’t have any family or friends that you trust or want to avoid any potential family squabbles. These third-party institutions are experts in dealing with estates and can offer a non-biased, by-the-book execution of your estate. Beware that third-party executors will administer your estate at a fee set by the state.