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Guidelines for choosing an executor for your Washington estate

On Behalf of | Dec 12, 2022 | Estate Administration & Probate |

Executors of estates play a vital role in fulfilling your final wishes. They also manage your investments and assets during the probate and distribution process. To fully protect your estate and your heirs, you need to choose your estate executor wisely.

Washington state executor restrictions

The guidelines for estate executors vary from state to state. For the state of Washington, your executor must meet these requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • No felony convictions.
  • No convictions for crimes of “moral turpitude.”
  • Possess a sound mind.

Fiduciary duty

Your estate executor must uphold their fiduciary duty during the estate administration & probate process. Broadly speaking, fiduciary duty means that your executor must maintain an obligation to act in your best interests.

Specifically, your executor’s fiduciary duty includes:

  • Obligation of loyalty to your estate
  • Refusal to engage in self-dealing
  • Necessity to act with fairness and honesty
  • Performs with a duty of care towards your beneficiaries
  • Does not take unnecessary risks with assets
  • Obeys the will and the court’s wishes

Good choices for an executor

In general, you should trust the person you choose as an executor of your estate. They should also be comfortable working within the legal system, as your estate administration may need to go through probate court.

If your beneficiaries trust your executor, it may reduce the number of contests and disagreements that form between the estate executor and your heirs.

Common examples of good choices for estate executors include:

  • Close friends
  • Lawyers
  • Accountants
  • Attorneys
  • Family members

Executors must stand up to pressure

Your estate executor must be able to fulfill several duties and continue taking care of your estate while also making sure your beneficiaries receive their share. The person you choose must possess the ability to juggle several important tasks at once in order to best protect your estate.