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Who can serve as executor in North Carolina

Appointing the right executor is an important part of drawing up your will. He or she will play an essential role protecting your estate and ensuring distribution according to the terms of the will.

North Carolina law sets forth several requirements a prospective executor must meet. If the court finds your appointed executor may not serve, it will appoint another executor, usually a close family member.

Basic requirements

An executor in North Carolina must be at least 18 years old and of sound mind. Generally, the latter provision means he or she was not subject to a ruling of incapacity by a court.

Challenges to qualifications

However, if the heirs have concerns about the executor's cognitive abilities or other factors preventing him or her from fulfilling his or her duties, they can raise this issue with the court. The court will then hold a hearing. There may not always be a clear rule to turn to, because sometimes an executor who can handle dealing with one type of estate may not have the ability to adequately handle another. For example, if your estate includes complicated businesses and investments, you may need an executor who thoroughly understands how these assets operate.

Other restrictions

Someone convicted of a felony may not serve as executor until the restoration of his or her citizenship. Typically, this means completing sentencing, probation and any other post-conviction conditions. If you named your spouse, courts will not let him or her serve if you were separated or divorced at the time you passed away.

Choosing someone with the ability to perform the duties

In addition to legal requirements, you should consider some common-sense factors as you decide whom to appoint. An executor's duties involve many technicalities, which demand attention to detail and a high level of organization. The executor may also have to deal with conflict among heirs and other interested parties, so you need someone with the mental stamina and negotiating skills to handle these situations appropriately.

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