How to Choose an Executor in Virginia

An executor is a person who is responsible for managing your estate after you pass away. Their goal is to carry out your last wishes as best possible.

A key component to creating a will in Virginia is figuring out who your executor will be.

An executor is the person you name in your will who will be responsible for distributing your property after you die.

When you and your estate attorney are working out the details of your estate plan, they’ll be sure to ask you who you’d like to select for this very important role.

Essentially, the ultimate goal of the executor you name in your Virginia will is to fulfill your last wishes as best possible.

How should I pick this person?

virginia executor - tingen law, pllc

The role of executor is extremely important to your estate plan. You should pick someone you trust who is responsible and reliable.

This person should also be good with paperwork.

When you’re working with an estate attorney you should provide them with a list of people that come to mind when thinking of these traits.

It should be noted that you should also pick someone who you expect to survive you.

In order for them to do their job, they must be alive and well to complete these tasks.

You should also consider listing an alternate executor as well. This is good practice because the first executor you list may become incapacitated, or unable or unwilling to fulfill the role of executor.

Further, your executor should also aware of all the responsibilities they have.

The more you detail the various tasks they must accomplish, the better position they’ll be in overall.

What exactly are the responsibilities of a Virginia executor?

virginia executor - tingen law, pllc
How to Choose an Executor in Virginia

In short, an executor in Virginia is primarily responsible for the following tasks:

  • Locate and access your estate’s assets
  • Prepare for probate hearing
  • Distribute property to selected persons
  • Pay off debts, payments and final taxes
  • Final affairs

To get a better sense of each, we’ll go a little more in depth about each task below.

Locate and access your estate’s assets

Depending on how large your estate is, it may be difficult to find everything listed in your will.

For example, if you list a fine set of China in your will that’s been passed down for several generations, your executor will need to know where to find it.

Another example are properties that are spread across the country.

An executor would have to know the locations of each property in order to make sure whomever you’d want them to go to can access it.

An executor must also make sure these assets are put in a safe place so they can be transferred to those you list in your will.

Prepare for probate hearing

If necessary, your will may have to go through the Virginia probate courts.

Probate is a process where one must prove a will as a person’s last testament in court hearings.

An executor is the one that files for probate at the circuit court in your city.

They’ll be responsible for proving the validity of your will and carry out the wishes in your will by collecting your property and assets in the process.

Distribute property to selected persons

Once they complete the probate process, an executor must make sure all your property goes to the recipients you listed in your will.

This process could take time depending on how many people are beneficiaries in your will.

Another difficult aspect of this process is locating everyone you list in your will.

If you decide to leave property to residents who are all over the country, and sometimes, around the world, it’s the executor’s job to find them.

Lastly, some relatives and family members may anticipate more than you decide to give them. The executor would have to deal with any potential problems this issue could spark.

Pay off debts, payments and final taxes

Lastly, one very important responsibility of an executor that often gets overlooked is making sure all debts and payments are taken care of on your behalf.

With the money and property you leave behind when you pass, the executor must pay off your debts as best they can.

An executor should also pay off any bills and payments in your name. Because this is a big priority, this step begins first before anyone inherits or receives property.

If there are any credit cards and subscriptions that need cancellation, an executor should take care of that as well.

Lastly, an executor must pay the deceased’s final income taxes for the year they pass away with your estate and saved money.


In closing, choosing a good executor to manage your estate is key to reducing stress for family and friends.

Virginia executors have to fulfill certain responsibilities that can be complicated, especially when there is a large estate.

You should let your Virginia executor know you have selected them for this important task.

Our hope is this guide will help you be properly prepared and informed on how to pick the best candidate for the role.

Share This Post

Related Articles

Planning for Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease affects 48 million people across the world. If it strikes, you and your loved ones need to be ready financially and legally.

Fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch within 1 business day!

Are you ready for a superior client experience?

We’re a Richmond, Virginia law firm with clients from around the world. Schedule your consultation today and let’s talk about what we can do for you!