What if your chosen executor refuses the role?

On Behalf of | Jul 24, 2023 | Estate Planning |

Serving as the executor of a will is a challenging task. The executor is generally responsible for managing your assets after your death and carrying out the final wishes expressed through your will. They might also have to oversee your funeral arrangements and pay your taxes and liabilities. It is a demanding and time-consuming job, so it is unsurprising if some of the people you want to appoint as executors refuse the role.

What are your alternatives?

People usually appoint their kin or a close friend as their executor, but if your loved ones refuse, it is possible to nominate a third party. For instance, your attorney or accountant may take on the role. A third party is not likely to embroil themselves in your family’s affairs, so they might be a good choice if your family members have a strained relationship with one another.

Moreover, lawyers understand the law and usually have experience administering wills. Because of these, they will likely navigate any legal challenges during probate.

What if you do not have an executor?

If you die without appointing an executor, your heirs may unanimously select someone to take the responsibility, with specific exceptions. If this selection does not happen, the probate court usually makes the appointment according to the following order of preference:

  • Your surviving spouse, except if you were divorcing them upon your death
  • One or more of your heirs or the person that the majority of your heirs select
  • Any other eligible person
  • Any creditor of the estate
  • The county administrator

Estate planning is complex, and going about it on your own may lead to many challenges after your death. An estate planning attorney can help ensure that your estate plan is complete and enforceable and effectively protects your and your beneficiaries’ interests.