What Does an Executor Do?

There are sometimes several people involved with the creation of a will: The deceased, their attorney, their family members, and their friends or other loved ones. All of these people can contribute to making the will a relevant, legally enforceable document. Often, one of these people will play another very important role– as the executor. 

Before making a will, many people are not aware of the necessity of an executor. But as you proceed with the estate planning process, you will find out just how important the executor can be for an estate. Here, we will discuss what you should know about executors of the will.

What does an executor do?

An executor is the person who handles the legal and financial obligations of the will. Usually the executor is a relative or close friend of the deceased person. If the decedent did not designate an executor in their will, then the court system will appoint one.

What does an executor do?

The responsibilities of executing the will fall to the executor, such as:

  • Making sure that beneficiaries receive the property left to them
  • Tracking down assets and property
  • Maintaining real estate until it is sold or distributed
  • Paying the deceased person’s remaining bills
  • Filing estate tax and income tax for the deceased
  • Disposing of unneeded property
  • Appearing in court for the estate when necessary
Can I refuse being an executor?

Yes. If someone has been named as an executor, they can resign from their duties. The responsibility will fall to an alternate executor, or the court will appoint a new one.

Do executors get paid?

Sometimes, but not usually. Most executors act out of obligation to their deceased relative or friend. Some executors do choose to go to probate court and request payment.

Does an executor need a lawyer?

Some wills can be simple and fast, but others are wildly complex and take a long time to settle. Coping with the death of a loved one is never easy, never mind coping while also trying to settle a will. Even though it is the duty of executors to manage aspects of the will, they don’t have to do it alone: An estate attorney can make the process much easier.