New Mexico Restrictions on Who Can Serve as Executor

Learn the rules about who can be your personal representative in New Mexico.

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—commonly called a "personal representative" in New Mexico. 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 New Mexico.

Basic Requirements for Serving as a New Mexico Executor

Your executor must be:

  • at least 18 years old, and
  • of sound mind—that is, not judged incapacitated by a court.

(N.M. Stat. §§ 28-6-1; 45-3-203 (2024).)

Many states prohibit people who have felony convictions from serving as executor. In New Mexico, however, there is no statute prohibiting you from naming an executor who has been convicted of a felony. But a person who feloniously and intentionally killed the decedent is barred from serving as the decedent's executor. (N.M. Stat. § 45-2-803 (2024).)

Special Rules for Executors in New Mexico

In addition to the restrictions above, a New Mexico probate court will reject a potential executor found to be "unsuitable in formal proceedings." It's highly unlikely, but if a question arises about the qualifications of the person you've named as your executor, the court will hold a formal hearing in front of all "interested persons"—such as your spouse, heirs, creditors, and other potential executors. At the hearing a judge will determine who is best suited to serve as executor and terminate any appointment found to be improper. (N.M. Stat. §§ 45-3-203; 45-3-414 (2024).)

New Mexico Restrictions on Out-of-State Executors

Unlike many other states, New Mexico does not impose special requirements on executors who live out of state. But that doesn't mean it's a good idea to appoint someone who lives far away. For practical reasons, it's usually best to name an executor who lives near you. Your executor may have to handle day-to-day matters for weeks, months, or sometimes longer.

Learn More

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

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