The executor of your will is the person you choose to manage your estate and carry out the wishes you express in your will after your death. A successor executor is someone whom you name as a backup.
According to Kiplinger, a successor executor is not a requirement for a valid will. Nevertheless, there are several reasons that it may be a good idea for you to name a successor executor.
1. Your first choice may not be available
When you make a will, you hope that it will not go into effect for many, many years. A lot can happen between the time that you make your will and the time that you die. A successor executor can take over in the event that your chosen executor predeceases you.
2. Your chosen executor may not be competent
Even if your chosen executor is still alive at the time of your death, he or she may not be mentally competent to make legal decisions or handle administrative duties. Traumatic brain injuries and degenerative neurological conditions can negatively affect a person’s mental competence.
3. Your chosen executor may be legally unable to serve
While there are few restrictions on who can serve as an executor, the person you choose does have to receive the approval of the court. A judge is unlikely to approve an executor who has a record of felony conviction. There are also jurisdictional issues that could preclude a non-U.S. citizen living abroad from serving as executor.
4. Your chosen executor may choose not to serve
Even if you name a person in your will as your executor, that person can opt out of serving.
Because serving as an executor is voluntary, you should discuss your decision with both your first choice and the person you want as a successor to make sure they are willing to take on the responsibility.