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Naming an Executor? Know the Restrictions in Pennsylvania


When creating a will in Pennsylvania, one of the most important aspects is who you name as your executor. Sometimes, an executor is referred to as a ‘personal representative’. Upon your death, the executor will protect your property until the debts and associated taxes have been paid. Once that has been done, the property is then distributed to the beneficiaries named in your will.

When naming an executor, there are some restrictions pertaining to who can fill the role. It’s important to understand what these are, so your entire will is not declared as unenforceable by the courts.

Who can Serve as an Executor in Pennsylvania?

There are two very basic requirements for executors in Pennsylvania. They must be at least 18 years old, and they must be of sound mind.

Pennsylvania’s requirements for executors differ slightly from other states. The law has no general statute preventing someone from naming a convicted felon as executor. However, Pennsylvania law will not allow someone to serve that was charged with your death in any manner. If the charges are withdrawn, dismissed, or the person is found not guilty at trial, they can then serve as your executor. The only exception to this is if the death was ruled a vehicular homicide.

Naming a Corporation as Executor

Sometimes, a person would like to write a will, but they don’t know anyone they can trust to name as executor. This mostly happens when the estate is very large, and probate is going to be very complex. When that is the case, a person can name a corporation, such as a bank, to act as executor. Under Pennsylvania law, the corporation must act as a fiduciary. A fiduciary is a person or entity that acts in good faith and in the deceased’s best interests.

Naming an Out-of-State Executor

In many cases, individuals creating a will often want to name someone out-of-state as executor. This is not prohibited under Pennsylvania law, although the courts do have the right to refuse it. However, in most cases they will allow the out-of-state executor, as long as there is no other reason to deny the position. For example, if you named an out-of-state executor because you thought it would give your estate a legal advantage, the courts would likely deny your executor.

In most cases though, it is wise to choose an executor that lives close to you. Probate can drag on for some time, and they may have to manage day-to-day matters for months, or longer.

Need Help Naming an Executor and Creating a Will? Call Our Pennsylvania Estate Planning Lawyers

If you need help naming your executor or creating your will, it’s important you speak to a Scranton estate planning, probate & trust administration lawyer. At Haggerty, Hinton & Cosgrove, LLP, we can walk you through the entire process and ensure your will reflects your preferences and best interests. Call us today at 570-344-9845 to learn more about how we can help.




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