Virginia Restrictions on Who Can Serve as Executor

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

By , Attorney · George Mason University Law School

One of the most important reasons to make a will is to name your executor—sometimes called a "personal representative" in Virginia. 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 Virginia.

Basic Requirements for Serving as a Virginia Executor

In Virginia, your executor must not be a "person under a disability." This means an executor can't be:

  • younger than 18 years old
  • incarcerated for a felony conviction
  • judged incapacitated by a court, or
  • a veteran found to be incapacitated by the Department of Veteran Affairs.

(Va. Code §§ 1-207, 8.01-2, 64.2-500 (2024).)

Virginia generally requires an executor to post a bond. But you can include a statement in your will that the bond should be waived for your executor. With some exceptions, the probate court typically will waive the bond if the will requests a waiver. (Va. Code §§ 64.2-500, 64.2-504, 64.2-505 (2024).)

Rules for Corporate Executors

While you can name a corporation as your executor, it must be authorized to transact business in Virginia. (Va. Code § 64.2-1426 (2024).)

That said, think carefully before appointing a bank or trust company to represent your estate. It's almost always best to name an individual; consider an institution only if you don't know anyone you trust enough to serve or your estate is very large and complex.

Virginia Restrictions on Out-of-State Executors

For practical reasons, it's smart to name an executor who lives near you. Your executor might 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 Virginia imposes on out-of-state executors.

In Virginia, a nonresident executor must appoint someone who lives in the state to act as an agent. Your executor's in-state agent will accept legal papers on behalf of your estate. A bond might be required unless your executor serves with a resident coexecutor. (Va. Code Ann. § 64.2-1426 (2024).)

Learn More

If you want to know more about an executor's duties and responsibilities in Virginia, the Virginia Bar Association offers a Guide to the Administration of Decedents' Estates in Virginia.

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

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