Illinois Restrictions on Who Can Serve as Executor

Learn the rules about who can be your executor in Illinois.

By , MSLIS · Long Island University
Updated by Jeff Burtka, Attorney · George Mason University Law School

One of the most important reasons to make a will is to name your executor. After your death, your executor's primary job is to protect your property until any debts and taxes have been paid, and then transfer what's left to those who are entitled to it.

Every state has some rules about who may serve as the executor of an estate that goes through probate. Here are the requirements in Illinois.

Basic Requirements for Serving as an Illinois Executor

Your executor must be:

  • at least 18 years old
  • a U.S. resident,
  • not currently in prison, and
  • of sound mind—that is, not judged incapacitated by a court.

Like many other states, Illinois also prohibits people who have felony convictions from serving as executor. But a person with a felony conviction can serve as an executor if (1) you acknowledged in your will that you know about the conviction, (2) they aren't prohibited by law from inheriting from you, (3) they haven't been convicted of financial crimes, and (4) they are otherwise qualified to serve as an executor.

(755 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 5/6-13 (2024).)

Special Rules for Executors in Illinois

In addition to the restrictions above, an Illinois probate court will reject a potential executor found to be a "disabled person." This means that your executor cannot be someone who:

  • fails to provide for his or her family by gambling, abusing alcohol or drugs, "being idle," or engaging in "debauchery"
  • has a mental or physical incapacity that prevents him from managing his own affairs, or
  • has been diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome.

(755 Ill. Comp. Stat. §§ 5/6-13, 5/11a-2 (2024).)

Illinois Restrictions on Out-of-State Executors

For practical reasons, it's smart to name an executor who lives near you. Your executor may have to handle day-to-day matters for weeks, months, or sometimes longer. If you must appoint an executor who lives far away, you should know the requirements Illinois imposes on out-of-state representatives.

In Illinois, the court may require a nonresident executor to post bond, even if your will expressly states that no bond is required. (755 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 5/6-13 (2024.))

Learn More

For more information about choosing your executor and making your will, see the Wills section of

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