What Do You Do If You Are the Executor of an Estate?

The executor of an estate is responsible for paying all debts and taxes of the deceased and ensuring that all beneficiaries receive their allotted shares of the estate, according to Nolo. An executor does not have to be a legal or financial expert, but he needs to be honest and faithful.

Attorney Bernard A. Krooks explains that an executor offers the will for probate with the appropriate court. The executor searches for any assets the deceased may have owned, pays funeral expenses and obtains copies of the death certificate. He protects the assets of the estate and distributes the assets to the named beneficiaries in the will. The executor must also pay taxes and any debts owed by the deceased. If the executor mismanages the assets and funds of the estate, the beneficiaries lose part of their inheritances, and the executor could be found liable for that loss.

Anyone accepting the role of executor needs to understand the responsibility that comes with the role, according to Krooks. Because of the high level of responsibility taken on by an executor, a person has the right to refuse the position. The court will then appoint another person to carry out the duties of executor.