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What does the Executor of a Will do?

The role of an Executor of a Will is an important one, so it is important to properly select who will serve as the Executor of a Will. When you are engaging in the estate planning process, you may have questions concerning what the Executor of a Will (or Executrix if the person is a woman) does when determining who to name as the Executor. The Executor of a Will has the responsibility for ensuring that the decedent's last wishes are fulfilled concerning the disposition of his or her property and possessions. The Executor of the Will is entrusted with paying funeral expenses, the debts of the decedent, estate administration costs and Pennsylvania inheritance taxes as well as distributing the remaining property and assets according to the wishes of the decedent.

Executors have a fiduciary duty to act in good faith concerning the distribution of property and possessions according to the Will. An Executor may receive a reasonable fee for administering the estate. The exact duties of the Executor may depend on the complexity of the estate but can include determining the decedent's assets and paying debts, as well as maintaining the assets and being responsible for them until they are distributed according to the Will. The Executor, usually with the assistance of an attorney, files the Will for probate at the Register of Wills in the county in which the decedent resided at the time of death.

There are many important aspects to estate planning and estate administration, including selection of an Executor. Effective estate planning can provide peace of mind for both the person preparing the Will and for family members, which is why it is important to be familiar with estate planning tools and how they work.

Source:, "What does a will executor do?" Accessed Oct. 26, 2016

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