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Who can serve as executor in Washington?

On Behalf of | Sep 21, 2022 | Estate Administration & Probate |

When it’s time to choose the executor of your estate, you may not realize that you can’t choose just anyone. Washington has certain restrictions in place on who can serve as executors.

Adults of sound mind

Minors can’t serve as executors of estates. The person whom you choose must be at least 18 years old and of sound mind. If a court has deemed someone as incapacitated, then they wouldn’t be of sound mind. You may want to choose a backup personal representative because they could have a sudden injury after your death that makes them incapacitated.


Washington’s estate administration and probate law prohibits felons from serving as executors. Those who have committed a crime of moral turpitude are unable to serve as well. If someone has trouble with the law, you may not want to choose them as your executor. They would lose their appointment as executor if a court convicted them of a felony or crime of moral turpitude before finishing the probate process.

Corporate executors

Although Washington permits corporate executors, there are limitations. If you want to choose a trust company or bank, they can’t draft your will or receive fees for probating your estate. LLCs, LLPs and corporations must consist exclusively of attorneys to serve as your personal representative. A non-profit organization could serve, as long as its bylaws permit it to serve. It must also be in compliance with all state laws.

Out-of-state individuals

You could name someone who lives out of state, but Washington law requires that they appoint an agent within the state at the time of your death. The in-state agent would have to accept legal papers on their behalf. Non-residents usually must also file a bond with the court.

Washington doesn’t allow minors, felons, certain criminals and most businesses to serve as executors. You may want to carefully read the law before appointing your personal representative and backup representative. A court won’t enforce illegal stipulations in a will.