Legal Blog

The Weekly Scenario: What is an estate executor’s role?

Question: What is an estate executor’s role?

Answer: Often we represent executors who have never had the experience of serving as an executor of someone’s estate.

An executor (or in some states, the executor is referred to as a Personal Representative) manages the estate administration process. Usually, we counsel executors who are specifically named in the deceased person’s Will. But, sometimes, a person dies intestate (without a Will) and the court has to appoint the individual executor.

The executor must first qualify as the estate’s administrator by petitioning the court. If the petition is accepted by the court, the individual is granted Letters of Administration. The Letters of Administration evidences the executor’s authority to administer the estate and will be used as authorization when dealing with banks and other financial institutions.

The executor owes a fiduciary duty to the estate and must act in the best interest of the estate.

Some of the particular duties include:

1. Safeguarding and marshalling estate assets
2. Notifying interest persons (heirs)
3. Filing court documents (inventory, accounting)
4. Paying debts, claims, taxes, and expenses
5. Distributing assets and closing the estate


As always, if you have any questions or would like to learn more, please at contact Steve Shane at or 301.575.0313.


Steve Shane Casual Small | 301.575.0313

Steve Shane provides strategic counseling to clients in need of estate administration, charitable giving and business continuity planning while minimizing estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax exposure. He offers legal guidance to clients on asset protection and the proper disposition of assets in accordance with the client’s objectives, while employing tax planning techniques such as the use of irrevocable trusts, life insurance planning, lifetime gifts and charitable trust. He is also experienced with drafting documents for business planning, the incorporation and application for exemption for Private Foundations and the administration of decedents’ estates.



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