Who Executes A Will?

Who Executes A WillWriting a will is the best way to ensure that your loved ones will be properly taken care of after you are dead and gone. But, unfortunately, the process of writing a will is not as easy as some may think.

If the will is not properly written, there is a chance that it may be rendered invalid or illegal upon your passing. Only a properly drafted will has the power to guarantee that the wishes of the person who wrote it, known as the testator, will be properly executed.

A will is only executed after the demise of its testator. Naturally, the fact that the testator will not be present to oversee its execution means that someone else has to be charged with the responsibility of doing so. The latter is known as the executor of the will. As may already be obvious from the title, the executor is the person who will eventually have to supervise and oversee the execution of the will.

Although the laws in most states do not explicitly require it, common sense dictates that the will should be written by a qualified and experienced estate planning attorney. This will ensure that the will is properly written according to the applicable state laws while at the same time reducing the chances of the will getting contested or nullified in future.

Every legally valid will must explicitly make mention of the person or people who will be in charge of its execution. Again, it makes perfect sense to name the attorney who prepared the will as its executor even though this is not a legal requirement. The same attorney who helped prepare the will is bound to be more familiar with the testator’s estate and state of affairs. The same attorneys are also better able to oversee the execution of the will due to their training and experience in estate planning.

The laws in most parts of the US dictate that every will be subjected to a probate process before its provisions can be implemented. The probate period begins after the death of the testator and could last for anywhere between a month and even a year, depending on whether or not the will is contested.

During the probate process, the will is reviewed by a probate court and checked to make sure that it meets all the legal requirements. Some of the main legal requirements that are checked at this stage before the will is executed include the following:

  • That the will was properly signed and dated by the testator. The testator must have been mentally stable at the time and must have signed it willingly and without coercion.

  • That there were enough witnesses to the signing of the will. In some states only one witness may be required for the signing provided the witness is not among the beneficiaries while in other states more witnesses may be required.

  • That the will mentions the property to be distributed, the beneficiaries who will receive it and the executor who will oversee its implementation.

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