Atlanta Estate Planning, Wills & Probate | Siedentopf Law

Can a Beneficiary of a Will be the Executor?

Can a beneficiary of a Will be the executor? The short answer to this question is usually yes, but sometimes no. In the state of Georgia, it all comes down to whether or not the named executor is considered eligible to carry out that role.

Read on to learn more about beneficiaries, executors, who is eligible to serve in the executor role, and if a beneficiary of a will can also be the executor.

What is a beneficiary?

A beneficiary is an individual or entity named within a Will, Trust, insurance policy, or otherwise designated to receive monies, properties, or other assets owned by another. So, in the case we’re discussing, an individual or entity named within a Will designated to receive assets from a deceased person’s estate.

Click here to learn more about mistakes to avoid when naming beneficiaries.

Watch this video to learn more about how to choose a primary beneficiary.

What is an executor?

An executor is a person or entity named in an individual’s Will to execute their wishes for their estate after their death. This is why they are called the “executor”. They are executing the deceased’s wishes.

The main role of the executor is to protect the deceased individual’s property until all debts and taxes are paid in full. Thereafter, the executor can distribute the remaining assets as the deceased individual directed in their Will.

Read more about the role of executor here.

Watch this video to learn more about mistake to avoid as an executor.

Who is eligible to serve as an executor?

The State of Georgia has very few laws regarding who is eligible to serve as an executor of a Will. This means almost any adult individual is legally eligible to serve as an executor of a Will—regardless of whether or not they have been named as a beneficiary in the Will.

Who is not eligible to serve as an executor?

Individuals under the age of 18 are not eligible to serve as executors. Additionally, an individual deemed to not be of sound mind is also ineligible.

Some people may choose to name a business entity to serve as executor. The state of Georgia has laws specifically addressing this. While you are allowed to name an LLC, corporation, association, partnership, or business trust as your executor, it must be authorized to act as a fiduciary in the state of Georgia. That means that the business entity has the power and obligation to act on your behalf in the state of Georgia. This means you cannot name a business entity that does not have the power to act in Georgia. For example, a law firm in another state is not licensed to practice law in the state of Georgia.

Who should you name as an executor?

Naming an executor is a very important part of your estate plan. There are many things to consider when choosing this person or persons. In order to make the process the most seamless, we recommend a few things.

  1. Choose someone located within the state of Georgia. While Georgia law doesn’t require the named executor live in state, your executor may need to make multiple trips to your property or the Court. Having someone local creates ease of execution of your estate.
  2. Choose someone you trust to fulfill your wishes. You’ve gone through the trouble of putting your wishes down in black and white for your family and loved ones to honor. Make sure you trust the person you’ve chosen to do what you’ve said to the best of their ability.
  3. Know that this can be a very emotional process for everyone involved. Choose someone who can handle big emotions gracefully. Having someone steady in this role makes the process go much more smoothly.

Next steps

So, can a beneficiary of a Will be the Executor? Now you know that you can name a sound-minded adult as both beneficiary and executor in your Will. Our office is here to help you do just this. Give us a call at 404-736-6066 or schedule a consultation through our website today.

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