When writing out your will and preparing for the probate process, one of the most important decisions you will have to make is to choose an executor. An executor, otherwise known as a personal representative, protects your property after your death. Their role is to ensure that your estate remains intact until all debts and taxes have been paid, before transferring what’s left to those who have been named in your will. If you’re working with a Springfield probate lawyer, they will be able to guide you through the process of selecting the right executor for your estate.
When you’re choosing an executor or personal representative in Missouri, there are specific rules and requirements you will need to follow. Below, we review some of the most important considerations when choosing yours.
Basic Requirements and Special Rules for Missouri Executors
Unlike other states that have more stringent requirements, Missouri executors need only be 18 years old, and of sound mind to serve as someone’s representative. Missouri does not prohibit former felons from serving as a personal representative, so long as they have completed their sentence and adhered to the terms of their parole.
In addition to following these requirements, the Missouri probate court will reject someone as your personal representative if they are a full-time judge or court clerk unless the person named is your spouse or kin separated by three degrees. For example, if your executor is your granddaughter, and she’s also a judge in Missouri, she would be allowed to represent you as your executor. Your wife’s cousin, however, would probably not.
Similarly, a person’s executorship cannot pass down to their own executor in the event of their death. For example, if you name your wife the executor of your will, and she dies, the person she names as her executor cannot additionally become your executor. Instead, your Springfield probate lawyer will work with you to name an alternate executor, in the event that your named executor passes away and can no longer serve in the role.
Other requirements include choosing an executor who lives relatively close by – under Missouri law, your executor needs to reside in the state if they’re going to be accepting legal paperwork on your behalf. Statutory law aside, you won’t want your executor to have to travel too far to handle the particulars of your estate, as this is a task that will likely take months of meetings, hearings, and phone calls.
The last requirement Missouri has regarding who can serve as your personal representative? If the person you’ve named is a ‘habitual drunkard,’ then the probate court will not approve your service!
Work with a Springfield Probate Lawyer to Identify Your Executor
Determining who you wish to administer the details of your estate upon your death doesn’t have to be handled on your own. An experienced Springfield probate lawyer can help you determine who’s right for the job. Contact our office today to get started.