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Should I make my spouse my will’s executor?

On Behalf of | Jul 28, 2023 | Estate Planning

In the past, many people appointed their spouses as the executors of their will. It might sound like a sensible choice to make today, but the following are reasons you might want to choose someone else for this crucial role instead.


An executor’s role is inherently complex; aside from carrying out your final wishes, they usually need to sort out your assets, finances and obligations after your death. Over the years, new laws, procedures and types of assets made the role more demanding and time-consuming.

For this reason, it is often wise to choose a person who can commit considerable time and energy to be an executor. After you pass away, your spouse may have neither, as they might be too preoccupied with dealing with their grief and helping other family members do the same.


If your spouse is new to estate administration, your attorney and other professionals can help them. However, it might be better to appoint someone with some knowledge of the probate process as your executor, especially if you want to minimize delays and keep related costs low.

Family dynamics

If your family members do not see eye to eye, having your spouse as your executor might not be ideal. Family members who have bad blood with your spouse may challenge their authority to decide on your behalf. They might even question the contents and validity of your will, leading to long and chaotic court battles.


Some people who appoint their spouse as executor forget to update their will before dying of old age. By the time they die, their spouse is already too old or sick to effectively serve as an executor.

Naming the right executor is just one of several issues you need to address when creating an estate plan. Consulting with an estate planning attorney can be a big help if you want to minimize unforeseen complications. They can advise you on the qualities to look for in an effective executor and what steps you can take to ensure that your estate plan performs its intended purpose.