What Is an Executor of Estate?

What Is an Executor of Estate?

When the time comes for a loved one to pass away, it is essential to follow their final wishes. This person will have written their desires in a will. This vital document helps the family navigate life after the death of a loved one. With that said, it is wise to appoint one individual in charge of carrying out the will. This person is known as the executor of estate.


The estate executor is an individual listed in the will as the person who should carry out the will. The executor is responsible for handling all estate parts according to the deceased person's final testament.

How Is an Executor Chosen?

The most common way for Executor selection is through the will itself. When writing a will, the deceased person may work with a lawyer. An estate attorney will recommend that the individual select a family or friend they trust to carry out their final will during these meetings.

If the probate court finds the requested executor an inappropriate fit, they can change it. The court will reverse the Executor for reasons such as:

  • Not of legal age
  • Criminal history
  • Substance abuse history
  • Mental disability

If the will owner did not choose an executor, the probate court judge would appoint a personal representative to carry out the will. The person chosen is usually a family member of the deceased.

Being an Executor will take a lot of time. Smooth processes typically last several months. Complicated procedures can last years. Whoever accepts this role must be willing to see it through to the end.


What Can the Executor Do and Not Do?

Many responsibilities come with being the Executor of Estate. However, just as there are many things to do, there are several things a person should not or cannot do.

Can Do

An Executor can do several things, but the most crucial job of the Executor is to fulfill the wishes of the final testament. With that said, an executor's duties are to:

  • Get several death certificate copies
  • Notify creditors and loaners
  • Pay debts
  • Close bank accounts and cancel subscriptions
  • Open an estate bank account
  • Manage remaining assets
  • Appear in court
  • File the will

Each of these jobs is important, and the Executor cannot accomplish anything if one is missing.


Cannot Do

While Executors have many responsibilities, it’s equally important to know what you cannot do in this position. You are not allowed to:

  • Act in a way that goes against the best interest of the estate
  • Take money from the estate
  • Sell pieces of the estate for less than market value
  • Carry out the will before the individual passes
  • Sign an unsigned will
  • Change the beneficiaries



Dealing with the death of a loved one is difficult. It can be even more difficult when you are the Executor because you have so many more responsibilities. That’s where we can help. It is challenging to navigate the legal system when you are unfamiliar with it. When you work with Hickey and Hull Law Partners, we help you work through this difficult time. Visit us today to talk about all your estate planning needs.