Selecting an Executor

One of the first steps in building an estate plan is picking an executor. The executor of a Will is the individual who will carry out your wishes within the Will. This includes going to probate, disbursing property, and settling final affairs. It’s a major responsibility, even for small estates. Selecting an executor should be done with care.

Who Should They BeAn older woman and a young man hold hands and smile into the camera

Your executor should be someone you and your loved ones trust. They should be of the age a majority and live close enough that they can easily appear before local probate courts. Courts do prefer that they be legally related to you. They also prefer that the executor resides in the same state as the decedent (though these are not hard and fast requirements).

The selected individual should be of sound mind and good under pressure. Settling affairs can be difficult. It requires compiling lists of all assets and debts. This includes bank accounts, loans, credit cards, and family information.

Whoever you select, they should know of their responsibility before it comes into play. The executor could become liable for failing to follow the directions of the Will or the court. They will need to know how to act quickly. Once selected, you should have a conversation with your executor. Letting them know where documents are and how to access them will be the key to their success.

The most important part of your selection is that you are happy with them. This person should be someone you know, like, and trust to carry out your wishes!


Wills have two executors listed. The second executor is the Successor. They will only come into play should the first be unable to act, be it by illness or choice. This second individual should be made aware of their possible responsibility as well. Should both individuals be unable to perform their duties, their responsibilities will be passed to a court-appointed administrator who will take on the duties of the executor.

If you have any questions about planning your own estate, selecting an executor, or are finding yourself in the position of executor and want some help, reach out today! You can send us a message on the contact page or give us a call at 419-352-7522!

Articles appearing in this column are intended to provide broad, general information about the law. This article is not intended to be legal advice. Before applying this information to a specific legal problem, readers are urged to seek advice from a licensed attorney

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