An executor is someone who's responsible for executing, or following through on, an assigned task or duty. The feminine form, executrix, might at times be used. The role of an executor shouldn't be confused with that of an executioner, a person who carries out a death sentence ordered by the state or additional legal authority.


An executor is a legal term referring to a person named by the maker of a will or nominated by the testator to carry out the instructions of the will. Typically, the executor is the person responsible for offering the will for probate, although it isn't required that he fulfil this. The executor's duties additionally include disbursing property to the beneficiaries as designated in the will, obtaining information of potential heirs, collecting and arranging for payment of debts of the estate and approving or disapproving creditors' claims. An executor will make sure estate taxes are calculated, necessary forms are filed, and tax payments are made. They will additionally assist the attorney with the estate. Additionally, the executor acts as a legal conveyor who designates where the donations will be sent using the information left in bequests, whether they be sent to charity or additional organizations. In most circumstances, the executor is the representative of the estate for all purposes, and has the ability to sue or be sued on behalf of the estate. The executor holds legal title to the estate property, but might not use the title or property for their own benefit, unless permitted by the terms of the will.

A person who deals with a deceased person's property without proper authority is known as an executor de son tort. Such a person's actions might subsequently be ratified by the lawful executors or administrators if the actions don't contradict the substantive provisions of the deceased's will or the rights of heirs at law.

When there's no will, a person is said to have died intestate—"without testimony." As a result, there's no tangible "testimony" to follow, and hence there can be no executor. If there's no will or the executors named in a will don't wish to act, an administrator of the deceased's estate might instead be appointed. The generic term for executors or administrators is personal representative. In England and Wales, when a person dies intestate in a nursing home, and has no family members who can be traced, those responsible for their care automatically become their executors. Under Scottish law, a personal representative of any kind is referred to as an executor, using executor nominate to refer to an executor and executor dative to an administrator.

Executor pay

In a few countries, such as the United States, an executor is automatically entitled to compensation for their services, although this amount varies dramatically by jurisdiction. Unless specifically set by the will, this compensation is often determined by what's considered ″reasonable″ for the effort involved, although in a number of jurisdictions, the amount is instead set as a percentage of the overall estate. For example, in California the executor is entitled to four percent of the first $100K of estate value, three percent of the next $100K, and so on. In additional countries, such as the United Kingdom, the executor is not automatically entitled to compensation, although compensation can be directed within the will or on application to a court.

Insurance policies

In recent years, custom "executors' insurance" policies have entered the marketplace. These are currently available in countries including Canada, England, and Wales. They are often taken up by non-professional executors—typically friends or family of the deceased—who might be worried about potentially making an error throughout the probate process and/or uncomfortable about exposing themselves to unlimited personal financial and legal liability. Many find such cover an attractive proposition as the vast majority of wills allow reasonable expenses, such as the cost of the policy, to be reclaimed from the deceased's estate.