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What is the purpose of an executor of an estate?

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Quick Answer

An executor of an estate is the person, trust or bank that carries out the terms of the will of a deceased person, or decedent, and settles the decedent's estate, according to the American Bar Association. In some states, the executor is known as a personal representative.

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What is the purpose of an executor of an estate?
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Full Answer

Executors are responsible for collecting the assets of the decedent that fall under the provisions of the will as well as paying any of the decedent's debts, as explained by the New York City Bar Association. The executor must also pay administration expenses and taxes, which may include final income tax, gift tax, federal and state taxes, and even income tax earned on the estate during settlement. After payment of all debts and taxes, the executor then dispenses the remaining assets as set forth by the terms of the will.

Given that the duties of an executor require a great deal of time and energy to perform, executors are entitled to receive a commission, which may be specified in the will or determined by the state, according to the American Bar Association. Family members acting as executors may waive their commission. However, banks or trust companies only act as executors if receive a commission, according to the New York City Bar Association.

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