Should you name an alternate executor for your will?

On Behalf of | Mar 2, 2023 | Estate Planning |

When creating a will, you need to name an executor who will ensure your wishes are fulfilled. In addition to this, the executor handles other duties, from paying off debts to managing property before distribution. You can name one or more executors (co-executors). However, it will also help to name an alternate executor. They differ from a co-executor because they will only assume the duties should the primary one (s) be unable to do so.

This guide discusses why you should do this.

Act as the executor if they choose not to serve

Your executor can decline to act as required, either earlier by informing you or when the will is required to go to probate. Common reasons for this are moving out of the state or country for work or family and having new responsibilities that make it hard to serve competently as an executor.

Not having an alternate executor when this happens can make the process more complicated. The court will ask for applications from interested parties or choose from the beneficiaries.

It’s easier to get ahead of such possibilities by naming an alternate executor. This way, should the primary executor decline their duties, the probate court will immediately appoint the alternate one, and the process will continue seamlessly.


If your executor is incapacitated when they need to perform their duties, the alternate one can step in and carry on with the process.


Your chosen executor may die before performing or completing their duties. Should this sad event happen, the court will move the alternate executor to the primary position and continue the process.

Naming one or more alternate executors for your will is necessary. It will be best to get professional guidance to make a plan that meets your needs. 


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