North Carolina law does not require an executor be a resident of the state. However, there are certain restrictions the state imposes on out-of-state executors. For one, the out-of-state executor must appoint a “resident agent of the state.” The agent would have the power “to accept service of process in all actions and proceedings with respect to the estate,” according to the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts’ Estate Procedures guide.
Second, the out-of-state executor would need to meet the same requirements as an executor who is a resident. The executor must be age 18 or older, legally competent, literate, not a convicted felon (and if so, must have their citizenship restored), and not previously have declined or resigned from serving as executor of the estate.
If a testator prefers that a singular person or entity to manage the estate administration, they may not wish to choose an out-of-state executor since the executor would need to appoint and work with a resident agent throughout the administration. Out-of-state administration could also contribute to delays if important documents need to be mailed.
Of course, knowing a trusted and honest person is overseeing matters from afar might be most important for the testator. Before naming an executor in a will, talk to the candidate first to learn if they are interested in taking on the role. If the nominated executor declines to serve and a secondary executor is not named, the court will appoint a party to fill the role.
Estate administration may not be a short or simple process. Tax issues during probate, will contests, and legislation changes may delay settling the estate and be a burden on an executor who is not familiar with North Carolina and federal law. Learn more about how our estate planning attorneys can help, whether it’s regarding a single tax matter or guiding through the entire estate administration process.
By Attorney Samantha Reichle