One of the most important reasons to make a will is to name your executor -- sometimes called a “personal representative” in Oregon. 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 Oregon.
Your executor must be:
(Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. § § 109.510, 113.095.)
Many states prohibit people who have felony convictions from serving as executor. In Oregon, if the person you name as your executor has been convicted of a felony, he or she must inform the court of the conviction or risk disqualification. The judge will disqualify your choice only if the circumstances surrounding the conviction demonstrate “unfaithfulness and neglect” and the judge believes the person is likely to mismanage your estate. (See Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. § § 113.092, 113.195; 170 P.3d 1067.)
In addition to the restrictions above, an Oregon probate court will reject a potential executor who is an attorney and has:
Furthermore, Oregon courts will not appoint a licensed funeral services practitioner as your executor, unless this person is a relative, or you are a licensed funeral practitioner and your executor is your employee, employer, or business partner.
(See Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 113.095.)
Unlike many states, Oregon 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.
For more information about choosing your executor and making your will, see the Wills section of Nolo.com.