An executor is the person or institution responsible for managing the administration of a deceased person’s estate. The executor (also called a personal representative) is either named in a will or appointed by the court, if there is no will. In addition to an individual, a bank, trust company, or other institution can serve.
Executors are responsible for making sure the deceased person’s wishes are carried out and that the estate is wrapped up. An executor’s duties include applying for probate, paying taxes and bills, managing the deceased person’s property, distributing assets to the estate’s beneficiaries, and filing a final accounting with the court. You are not required to hire an attorney to assist you with these tasks, but mistakes can cost you money. You may be personally liable if something goes wrong with the estate or the payment of taxes. An attorney can help you make sure all the proper steps are taken and deadlines met.
The amount of time involved in being an executor varies with the size of the estate, but the duties involved need to be taken very seriously. Also, the executor is entitled to compensation, subject to approval by the court.