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

UPDATED: Jul 1, 2014

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

Asked on July 1, 2014 under Estate Planning, Iowa


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

Answered 8 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.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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