Can a person designate in writiing an executor or trustee of their estate without a Will?

UPDATED: Feb 12, 2012

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Can a person designate in writiing an executor or trustee of their estate without a Will?

Can a person just identify a person in writing to handle all of their affairs once they have passed without writing a Will detailing their wishes? Does it have to involve a lawyer? Does it have to be notarized?

Asked on February 12, 2012 under Estate Planning, Virginia


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Good question. A person can designate a person to handle his or her affairs where there is no Will or trust provided the designation is witnessed by two parties who have no interest in that person's estate and signed/dated by the person who later dies. The problem that I see is that if someone is willing to go to the trouble of designating someone to handle his or her affairs, that person should simply have a simple Will or trust set up at the same time.

If there is no Will or trust, the person's estate goes through the administration process with the court system.

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