Who should be picked as a will executor if none of the children can do it

If you have a will and the children are the only beneficiaries, but none can function as the executor, who is a good person to pick as the will executor? Have other people had this issue, who did you end up picking?

My executor is an old friend who also happens to be a lawyer. Lawyers are a popular choice.

My father had one of the officers at his local bank. Of course, that was in the days when there were local banks and you could have a relationship with someone there.

More important than any special legal or financial expertise is to pick someone you trust your life savings with, because that’s what you’ll be doing.

Just about anyone you know and trust. If there is any chance of a debate or fight, anyone but a family member. You don’t want them caught in the middle for the rest of their lives. A close friend, especially one you spend a lot of time around, would be my first choice for anything that could be contentious.

My ex-wife.

My husband was his brothers executor. He had had 3 wives and children by 2. He was trying to save the fight. Didn’t work. Those women went after each other like pit bulls. The kids were just in the middle of it all. They are sibs ( his children)and cannot be in the same room, it’s kinda sad.
Don’t pick your brother, it makes for hard feelings.

My brother’s wife chose her best friend to be her executor. She hated bro and after signing on prior to sis in laws death bowed out. It took years for him to get things settled.

I am my Mom’s executor and hate it. It is a thankless and incredibly time consuming ordeal. If I never talk to my sibs after this is settled I will be happy.

Can the attorney who sets up your will be pressed into service? That would seem the perfect choice.

Lawyers and accountants (specially if experts in taxation) are popular choices.


One of my mother’s friends never married, never had children. She was an only. She was the last one standing in her neighborhood’s generation.

The lawyer who drew up her will served as her executor. The lawyer sold her house, disposed of her worldly goods, and what wasn’t used to pay for the burial went to a charity the friend had designated in the will.

My next door neighbor is 90. I have lived next door to her for 40 years. Her husband passed in 1993 and they never had children. Her only brother passed a couple of years ago. She asked me if I would be executor of her estate because everyone else she named over the years died. I told here I would do it. At least I will know what happens to the house.

Yes – that’s what my father has set up. And we all get along fine and everything is pretty well planned for ahead of time. I’m happy he has a professional to do it!

Before our kids reached adulthood, we’d designated one of the officers at our bank to be our executor if the need arose. It helped that it was a small town bank that my family had been doing business with for over 75 years. The sort of place where customers and bank employees knew each other and the extended families on sight.

Estate planning lawyer here. When a client needs an independent executor/trustee I generally recommend the accountant as an ideal choice. They are generally more cost effective than the lawyer, who often will still be involved as the appointed solicitor for the estate administration, without the potential conflict of interest issues that arise when appointing oneself to a position where one can both charge professional fees and claim a commission.

There are some limited circumstances that I will accept appointment as an executor/trustee, however there is a fairly high disclosure obligation I make in these circumstances.

Whoever you pick, make sure they have a full and updated list of all your assets and liabilities, account numbers and access information, insurance policies and beneficiaries, etc. along with a signed and witnessed Power of Attorney form, and, of course, your will stating who gets what. Don’t make the executor guess or go on hunting trips, especially if it’s a lawyer the estate is paying by the hour.

A family member is a good choice only if you trust her to be honest and open with everyone, and so does the rest of the family. If nobody fully qualifies, you do have to pick a neutral outside party to do it, sorry.

Do you have trust companies in the US? We have them in Canada and their function is to administer trusts and estates. They will act as executor, for a fee. They’re usually affiliated with a bank, but are separate from the bank. That might be an option, depending on the size of the estate.

Large US banks often have trust departments, and probate attorneys often act as trustees, but actual independent trust companies are not common.

Here’s another thing not to do: my father made me, my brother, and two sisters co-executors. Fortunately he was very clear as to who got what, so no fighting ensued. The others deferred to me to do most of the work and I ran any important decisions past them first, but the real PITA was that everything had to be signed by all four of us and we lived in three different states.

Another thing you can do is to give your stuff to its intended recipients while you’re still around to do it, and to enjoy seeing them have it. Give them your money too, if you have excess, within tax limitations, and leave a simple and small estate at the end that they won’t be as tempted to fight over. If some drama is coming, get it past while you can still deal with it, and your end and aftermath will be much more peaceful.

I’m in the same situation: co-executor with my two brothers. Luckily, we are in agreement on most issues.

My dad’s will named my sister and me as co-executrices. What a pain. He didn’t leave all that much anyway, nothing for us to argue about. But every document had to be signed by both of us, and some actions required both of us to be physically present. He had lived in another county, about 2 hours’ drive from us, and it was very annoying to have to kill most of a day when something had to be done there.