When Are Wills Executed After Death?

By Judy Petro
A will is executed according to the requirements of state probate law.

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According to MSN Money, there's no need to rush to execute a will. Unless there is a reason for hurry, such as a financial transaction that was not completed before death, the will's executor can generally take his time to gather pertinent estate papers and make good decisions.

Types of Wills

Wills are executed in conformity with state law. All states recognize a typewritten will that contains signatures of witnesses. Some states require a notarized signature. Handwritten wills and oral wills are recognized by only a handful of states.


The will's executor must accomplish the will's instructions under supervision by the probate court. The court may require time-consuming activities such a complete inventory of the estate's assets with an estimate of value for each item. Often an executor must sell real estate before distributing assets to the beneficiaries.


Assets with deeds, titles or designated beneficiaries are not distributed through a will. An IRA that names a specific person as beneficiary may be distributed quickly. If the IRA names the estate as beneficiary, however, the probate process will delay the distribution.

About the Author

Judy Petro began her writing and editing career in 1986. Her business profiles and feature articles appeared in "West Michigan Profile" and "The Grand Rapids Press." Petro enjoyed a 13-year career as a financial adviser. She takes pleasure in researching and writing personal finance articles for eHow Money and holds a Bachelor of Arts in telecommunications from Calvin College.

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