Legal Requirements to Consider When Selecting an Executor / Personal Representative
The person you choose to be your executor (sometimes called a personal representative) will play an extremely important role, as that person will be responsible for gathering, securing, managing, and ultimately distributing your money and property when you pass away. As a result, you should make your selection only after careful consideration regarding who is the best person to fulfill this role. Don’t just choose your oldest child because that’s what you think is expected: If a friend or advisor is more trustworthy or better qualified, that person may be a better choice. The probate court will typically honor your choice, but there are certain grounds that could legally disqualify the person you have nominated as executor. If the executor you have nominated is legally disqualified, the court will not appoint that person as executor.
Characteristics Not Legally Required
There are several factors to consider before choosing your executor that are not addressed in state law. For example, if the person you have chosen is extremely busy, he or she may not have time to serve even if that person would otherwise be a good choice. Similarly, someone who does not live close by may find it difficult to make the necessary trips to take care of your money and property. It is also prudent to name someone who is reliable and trustworthy, although these characteristics are not legally mandated.
Legal Qualifications to consider in selecting an Executor / Personal Representative
There are certain categories of people who are disqualified from serving as an executor under the law of most states. For example, your executor typically may not be someone who:
- has not reached the age of majority (usually 18 or 21)
- has a felony conviction
- is not a U.S. resident
- has been found to be incapacitated (physically or mentally unable to manage their own affairs) by a court
Special Rules for Out-of-State Executors
Out-of-state executors normally are not disqualified, but they may have extra requirements that must be met. For example, many states require an out-of-state executor to find an in-state resident, living in Norman, Oklahoma, or whatever city/town/county the property is located, to serve as his or her agent or to deal with certain probate matters.
Let Us Help
If you need help selecting an Executor / Personal Representative, we can help you identify the important factors to consider in making this important decision. The law in our state has its own particular requirements, so we can also help you rest assured that the executor you choose will not be legally disqualified. Please call us today to discuss this or any other estate planning needs or concerns. We are happy to meet with you over the phone or by video conference if you prefer.