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Should your spouse act as executor of your estate?

An elderly couple looking through their options on a law website

Creating an estate plan can make your passing easier on your surviving family members. By getting your affairs in order well before your demise, you can ensure that family members know your wishes for healthcare, funeral arrangements, property distribution and other necessities. Of course, you will need an executor to your will to carry out these desires as you had hoped.

You could choose from a variety of individuals when it comes to picking the right executor for your estate. Of course, as a married person, your spouse may come to mind as your first candidate. However, you need to ensure that he or she feels up to the task.


An executor must carry out a number of different duties when it comes to closing your estate. In many cases, the tasks can prove overwhelming and thankless. Some parties may even consider naming someone they did not like to act as executor in order to place that person in a difficult position. Therefore, you may wish to discuss your desire for naming your spouse as executor with him or her before filing the legal paperwork.

In many cases, spouses feel happy to take on this role as they often face the most financial impact in such an event. As executor, your spouse would have considerable control over the aspects of the estate that may affect him or her most. However, because so many duties do come with such a role, he or she may not have the ability to effectively complete the necessary tasks.

Life changes

Additionally, you may face life changes that could influence your choice of executor. For instance, the possibility exists that you and your spouse could pass away due to the same event. In that case, your spouse obviously could not act as your executor.

You could also face the risk of your spouse passing away before you do, or later in life, you and your spouse could get a divorce. If you had already named your spouse as executor of your estate before either of these events, you would need to update your estate plan as soon as possible to name a new executor.

Exploring your options

In order to choose the best executor for your circumstances, you may wish to explore your options. Whether you decide to name your spouse or another individual to the position, having the right person in charge could allow the estate administration process to go more smoothly for your surviving family. Discussing this aspect of your estate plan with an experienced California attorney at out office could help you feel more confident in your decisions.