Can a felon be named as executor of an estate in someone’s Will?

Asked on July 1, 2014 under Estate Planning, Iowa

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

As a general rule, you can serve as an executor if you are at least 18 years old (21 in some states), a US resident, have not been judged as legally incapacitated, and have not been convicted of a felony. 

That having been said, some states don’t automatically prohibit a felon from serving as an executor. For example, a state may require that a potential executor (or personal representative/administrator) disclose to the probate court any felony convictions; however they will only be disqualified if the facts surrounding their conviction indicate that the person would be untrustworthy if put in charge of another’s assets.

Note: Additionally, some states reject potential executors who are illiterate, habitual drinkers or who are otherwise deemed unsuitable in the determination of the court. Also, at least 1 state requires the executor to be a relative of the deceased. Finally, if a potential executor is a non-resident of the state in which the estae is t be probated/administered, special requiremnts can be imposed.

You can contact the appropriate probate court to find out the state's requirements in this regard or you can place a quick call into a local probate attorney's office.

 


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