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A few reasons surface when considering changing executors

An executor of an estate has numerous responsibilities. Some of them can be overwhelming. That is why you want an ideal and trustworthy person in this role. Sometimes, though, you may have to change your executor. Perhaps cracks exist in your relationship with this person, or the chosen individual has doubts as to whether he or she can perform the duties.

The general rule of thumb is when life changes happen, updates to your will must happen, too. But, sometimes, certain criteria fall outside of this spectrum, and changes must be made anyway. For example, you may receive surprising news that your chosen executor no longer wants that role. Or, you realize you no longer have much in common with your original executor. It is time to change executors.

Illness, divorce, falling out

While it is an important role in estate planning, the executor often has a thankless job. Time-consuming, complicated and, often, frustrating, the executor role takes energy, patience, knowledge and tact in dealing with many personalities and coping with many issues.

You want someone devoted and ready for this challenging role, so here are some instances in which you should consider changing executors:

  • Your chosen executor died. Always name a back-up executor such as another person or even representative from a law firm.
  • Your executor suffers from a serious mental or physical illness, thus preventing him or her from fulfilling the important duties.
  • Another person would make a better choice. An aging person in this role is not ideal. Perhaps you created your will years ago, but now your chosen executor has aged and may no longer have the mental capacity or energy for this role.
  • A divorce changes many things in your life. If you named your now ex-spouse as executor, it is a good idea to replace him or her.
  • The person you chose decides to bow out and no longer wants the responsibility.
  • You and your executor drifted apart, no longer share the same values or your relationship has splintered.

You want someone in the executive role who is willing, available, understands the responsibilities and knows that he or she is not alone. When you find the best candidate, stick with that person. However, when some things change, it is time to consider other candidates.


Christine S. Cook has earned a reputation in the legal community for her professionalism and among her clients for the care and personal attention she gives to every case.

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