How Does an Executor Handle a Will?

By Irene Finley
Designating an executor is an important part of writing a will.
signing a contract image by William Berry from

Though thinking about the distribution of your assets following your death is a difficult topic for many people, choosing a trustworthy executor to administer your will may put your mind at ease. An executor essentially acts as your "stand-in" following your death and works to make sure that your wishes are carried out as specified in your will.


Usually the executor will file a will at the local probate court. Though it is not always necessary to submit a will to a probate court, it is useful in order for a court to supervise the distribution of assets designated in a will and make sure that the executor performs his duties.


The executor is in charge of all financial matters pertaining to the will. The executor must be aware of all of the deceased's assets and must pay off the deceased's debts. The executor must also file taxes on behalf of the estate and make sure that any outstanding taxes are paid. After all of the estate's debts are paid, the executor must pay any beneficiaries stipulated in the will.


An executor has a fiduciary duty, which means that an executor must not act contrary to the best interests of the estate or its beneficiaries. An executor may be held legally accountable for a breach of her fiduciary duty.

About the Author

Irene Finley began writing professionally in 2009, specializing in law, history, travel and cooking. She is a licensed attorney and holds a Juris Doctor from Tulane Law School.