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If a person leaves in his will a substantial portion of his funds to the administration of a religion, can he still designate a member of that religion to be the executor of the estate?

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Yes.

Generally a person may designate any competent adult who is willing to be the executor. It is very common to designate a major beneficiary as executor. There is no rule against a possible conflict of interest, although an executor must treat all legatees fairly.

In many jurisdictions one can also designate a legal entity as an executor. When a will is complex adn involves large sums a bank or other financial institution may be designated as executor.

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  • Institutional fiduciaries typically need to be licensed, although local practice varies.
    – ohwilleke
    Oct 7, 2021 at 20:35
  • Why do so many websites seem to say that a beneficiary or close friend or relative shouldn't be named an executor? Just playing insecurity to drum up business?
    – DJG
    Oct 8, 2021 at 16:55
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    @DJG I don't know. Perhaps the most common choice is the remaining spouse or an adult child. Indeed where one person is the sole beneficiary it is particularly common to name that person as the executor. If the estate includes an on-going business, the executor should be soemoen competent to make decisions for that business (or should hire such a one). If there is likely to be conflict between beneficiaries, naming a neutral person as executor might be wise. If family will be too prostrated by grief to handle needed business, they should not be named. None of this is required by law. Oct 8, 2021 at 17:01

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