What happens if the executor of a will passes before the person making the will?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What happens if the executor of a will passes before the person making the will?

My mother is currently in a nursing home, but in looking over her personal
documents I found Her will. She left everything to my stepfather and
named him executor of her will. Should he predecease her, everything is
divided between me and my brother. My stepfather passed away 11 years ago.
Who will now be the executor of her estate? Does she need a new will?

Asked on October 29, 2017 under Estate Planning, South Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If she does not make a new will, the court would appoint an executor during the probate process. However, if she wants to have a say in who the executor is, she should either revise the will or add a "codicil" or "addendum" to it naming a new executor--this would be a one-page document, signed and witnessesd like a will, which simply identifies a new executor. Ideally, she should not just name a new executor, but should also name at least one back-up executor, in case the primary one cannot or chooses to not serve.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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