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Changing your will’s executor: Reasons and ways

On Behalf of | Jun 21, 2023 | Will |

Trusting anyone completely is understandably difficult. But you must trust yourself to make the critical choice of choosing someone to oversee your estate when you pass on.

An executor, at least 18 and of sound mind, is the individual you, as the testator, appoint to be responsible for carrying out the terms of your South Carolina will the way you intended it to be. This appointment comes with specific obligations including, but not limited to, initiating the probate process, settling financial accounts, conducting inventory and supervising asset distribution as per the will.

But when changes in your or your executor’s circumstances happen, you have the right to change your executor.

Reasons for changing your executor

Here are some common reasons you might think switching to a new executor is necessary:

  • Illness, incapacity or death: Your executor may have severe or lethal medical conditions and become unable to fulfill their role.
  • Conflict of interest: If you and your executor have a falling out, your executor may no longer want to maintain the role.
  • Divorce: If you named your spouse as your executor, but your marriage is on the verge of a breakdown.
  • Inadequate skills: You may eventually discover your executor doesn’t have the necessary abilities to perform their duties. Accordingly, you may find someone else better equipped for the role.

Your will’s beneficiaries also have the right to file a petition in court if they deem it appropriate to replace your appointed executor, who isn’t fulfilling their responsibilities. Further, the court also reserves the right to remove an executor if there is proof the person has a felony conviction or they’ve mishandled your assets.

Ways to change your executor

Once you’ve identified your reason for changing your executor, you have two options:

  • Add a codicil: You may add a validated, signed and witnessed codicil – a legal document used for minor changes – to your existing will.
  • Write a new will: If there are more substantial changes, you may need to draft a new will following the same steps as the original with proper signatures and witnesses, while destroying all copies of the old will.

Immediately settling all matters related to your will’s executor prevents unnecessary costs and burdens with asset distribution.

A dignified death

A will with a properly assigned executor is critical to estate planning. A legal team can help you stay on top of changes in your relationships to ensure you’ll leave your affairs with dignity.