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How to Become an Executor of an Estate

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How to Become an Executor of an Estate

An executor of an estate is appointed to take care a person’s estate if the person becomes incapacitated or dies. In most cases, the executor is appointed by the individual making the will.

What Happens When an Individual Dies Without Naming an Executor?

It depends. Every state has an intestate succession law to distribute the deceased individual’s property. Also, every state has a law that provides a list of eligible relatives who can fulfill this position. Most states make the surviving spouse or partner the estate’s executor. Adult children are next to serve as executor.

Can I Become the Executor If I Am Not a Spouse or Adult Child of the Deceased?

It is possible that you may be able to become an executor. However, you will need to check your state’s priority list of eligible people to fulfill the executor role.

How Do I Become the Executor?

An individual needs to go to the court in order to become appointed as the executor. To become appointed, you must:

  • Obtain a copy of the form requesting to become executor
  • Complete the form
  • Get the form notarized
  • Return the form to the Clerk of the Court
  • Pay the filing fee
  • Send the Notice of Application to anyone who has interest in the estate, such as heirs and beneficiaries

Will I Have to Pay Money to Ensure the Value of the Estate?

Yes. In some states, a proposed executor is required to post a surety bond. This bond insures the value of the person’s estate against any mistakes that the executor makes.

What Happens If My Petition Is Contested?

You should contact a probate attorney to find out how you can fight the challenge to your executorship request. A hearing is usually requested for the petitioner and challenger to present their cases.

Should I Contact an Attorney Before I File for Executorship?

Yes. Becoming an executor of an estate is complicated. You will want to contact an estate lawyer to understand more about the executor role and how to proceed.

Photo of page author Taelonnda Sewell

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 05-18-2015 11:47 AM PDT

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