Executors of Your Will

The executor of a will is the person you name to carry out your wishes after you pass. When you die with a legally-valid will, a judge will approve the executor you’ve named in it to act on it. This could include paying outstanding debts with the money left from your estate, distributing your money and property to your heirs, and more.

It’s important to choose a reliable, organized person you trust to be your executor. They’ll have an important role in making sure everything goes smoothly with your estate after your death.  Your will executor’s responsibilities can vary depending on the complexity of your estate, and what your wishes are. For more information about what an executor of a will is, please take a look at this article about the responsibilities of an executor and how to pick one

Whom should I pick as an executor?

Specifying an executor is an important decision. The executor does not have to be a lawyer or other legal or financial expert. However, the executor must fulfill their duties to their utmost ability. Some considerations you might make in selecting an executor include:
  • Honesty
  • Organization
  • Communication
  • Ability to navigate conversations with your chosen beneficiaries
  • Location (close to your assets and mailbox)

It is highly advisable to specify an executor that resides within your state because many courts only appoint individuals who reside in your state. If you decide to appoint an out-of-state executor, you should ask a lawyer or county clerk about your specific choice. Frequently people will choose their spouses, siblings, or children as their executors. It is acceptable to pick a beneficiary of the will as your executor (but not as a witness!). In fact, often people will choose executors who stand to inherit a significant amount of property under the will because the self-interest can help ensure that the property is well-maintained and is handled in a timely manner. It is best practice to have a conversation with your chosen executor about your nomination while you are still alive.

What responsibilities does an executor have?

Specific duties that an executor generally has include: 

  • Finding your assets
  • Deciding if probating your last will and testament in court is necessary (depending on the size of your estate and local state laws) 
  • Correctly filing the will in probate court
  • Finding and contacting the people and organizations named as beneficiaries in your will
  • Wrapping up your affairs (including tasks like canceling credit cards) 
  • Setting up a bank account for the estate 
  • Continuing any necessary payments
  • Paying off debts
  • Paying final income taxes
  • Ensuring the proper distribution of your property

How to add an executor to your FreeWill will

To add an executor to your FreeWill will intake form you will be asked to add the executor's full legal name of the person who will be the executor of your will in order of preference. 

To add an executor:

  1. Login to your FreeWill account
  2. Click on your name in the upper right-hand corner of the screen or follow this link.
  3. Click on 'Go to your account'
  4. Select 'View/Edit' of your 'Last Will & Testament' document
  5. Select the 'Provisions' section in the top progress tracker
  6. Select the 'Click to add another' button
  7. Add the full legal name of the person you'd like as an executor in the available boxes
  8. Once you have added your executors, click 'Save & Continue'

Disclaimer: FreeWill is not a law firm and does not provide legal advice. While FreeWill strives to ensure that its automated services are complete, they are meant purely as self-help forms. The materials and services are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney.

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