What does the Executor of a Will do?

Photo by Mateus Campos Felipe


The role of an executor is a big responsibility, so it’s one that you should seriously think about. Appointing someone as your Executor is no joke. The Executor of a Will is responsible for ensuring the your wishes will come to life, and that all moneys owed to you are collected and paid out to beneficiaries. But what does the Executor of a Will do exactly? Let’s look at some examples of an Executor’s duties.

1. Identifying the assets

The executor will have to identify all the assets of the estate. They must be able to identify all of these assets in order to determine how much money is available for distribution.  Additionally, they need to consider how much of that money will go to covering tax expenses.

Your Executor must also be able to identify all of the debts and liabilities associated with the estate. If there isn’t enough money in the estate to pay off these debts, it will be up to the executor (and potentially other parties) on behalf of those creditors who are owed money by the deceased person’s estate.

Additionally, the executor needs to keep track of any income that comes in during probate administration. They then need to make sure they distribute it among beneficiaries. The distribution should take place according to your wishes as described in your Last Will or Trust. This could include interest payments from bank accounts or rents from your real property at the time of your death; however, this can vary depending on the legislation of the state where you passed away.

2. Collecting the assets

The Executor’s next duty is to collect all of the estate’s assets (money, property). We cannot highlight enough that the Executor needs to pay any debts or taxes you owe. The type and value of these assets will depend on the contents of your Will, but there are some general guidelines for what you can expect:

  • How long it takes to collect an estate depends on whether or not there are any disputes between family members about who gets what; this can happen more often when there was no pre-existing trust or business plan in place.

  • How much it costs to collect an estate also depends on how much money is at stake; the more cash there is involved, the more time and energy everyone involved will need to put into this in order for everything to get done properly!

3. Paying debts and expenses

After the Executor settles the estate, there are a few more things to do. First, they need to pay off any additional debts and expenses. This includes paying off any existing mortgages and closing out accounts with outstanding balances (like credit cards). They may also have to pay funeral costs out of their own pocket. This depends on how much money is available in the estate after they pay any probate fees and other expenses. If there’s not enough money in the estate for these obligations, then beneficiaries who receive payments from the deceased’s assets might have to take over this debt themselves.

In addition to paying these debts or expenses out of pocket if possible, creditors or family members may contact your Executor. For example, they could inquire information about how much money corresponds to each unpaid bill. This way they can file an application with probate court after receiving their payment from an estate account.

4. Applying for probate

Probate is the legal process used to transfer a person’s property to their beneficiaries after their death. It usually lasts between six months and one year depending on how complex your estate is. Probate can be time consuming, costly and stressful for those involved in it. This is why you should use an executor who has been trained to manage these matters.

If you have been left an estate by someone who has died, then you might also need an executor. The first step is applying for probate so that you can take control of your inheritance or get access to any money they left behind. If you’re unsure what options are available feel free to contact us.

5. Paying Inheritance Tax (IHT)

In addition to the probate process, an Executor may be responsible for paying inheritance tax (IHT). IHT is a tax payable on the value of an estate. It is not always necessary that you are a beneficiary of the estate in order to pay this. If there are assets in more than one jurisdiction, then there might also be inheritance taxes in other jurisdictions.

IHT is usually payable by the Executor before any distribution of assets takes place.

6. Making payments from the estate

The Executor will eventually have to pay taxes on any money made during their time as Executor. They may also be responsible for paying debts and distributing property to beneficiaries at the end of probate.

Final Thoughts

Those were just some of the basic duties that the Executor of your Will has. If you are thinking who to give the role of Executor to, there are many things to consider. The first is whether or not you feel that they have the time and patience required for this role. Interestingly, the second is whether this should be a loved-one or if you want to include a professional in this processes.

And with Myend it’s never been easier to appoint Executors. It’s literally a matter of seconds as you can import people from your Contacts! Curious to experience the future of end-of-life and estate planning services? Sign up here today for your free account!

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Myend is not a law firm, it does not engage in the practice of law, and it does not render any official legal advice. Therefore, you are hereby advised to seek your own legal counsel regarding any legal issues. Myend’s articles are meant to be taken as suggestions and therefore Myend carries no responsibility for the user’s actions.