If an executor dies after estate was settled but an issue concerning estate arises, who is the executor?

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If an executor dies after estate was settled but an issue concerning estate arises, who is the executor?

Found out trailer that was left in home owners name was not changed to person that bought property trailer sets on. family expects the wife of deceased executor to step in and assume executor responsibilities. Is this correct?

Asked on October 17, 2019 under Estate Planning, Kentucky

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

A spouse of a deceased executor is under NO obligation to step in and be the executor.
1) First, no one, not even an executor named by the will or chosen by the court, can be forced to be the executor if they don't want to be; they can refuse. So even if she were named in the will or the court wanted her to do this, she could say "no."
2) Being an executor is NOT inherited, so the responsibility does not flow to the spouse.
3) If the will names a "back-up" or "successor" executor, that person takes over  (as long as they don't refuse)--though even in this case, he or she would not do so until the court confirmed them in that role. If there is no second executor named, the beneficiaries have to ask the court to name somone to do this (and again, that person could refuse, in which case the court will name another).


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