Skip to Main Content

Start of main content

What does the executor of a will do?

When named the executor of a will there are many responsibilities to fulfill.

A couple is reviewing a will

What Are the Responsibilities of an Executor?

The executor of an estate is named in one’s will and has many duties and responsibilities.  Some of the more important tasks include:

  • Find the latest will and read it.
  • File a petition with the court to probate the will.
  • Assemble all of the decedent’s assets.
    • Take possession of safe deposit box contents.
    • Consult with banks and savings and loans in the area to find all accounts of the deceased.  Also check for cash and other valuables hidden around the home.
    • Transfer all securities to his or her name (as executor) and continue to collect dividends and interest on behalf of the heirs of the deceased.
    • Find, inventory and protect household and personal effects and other personal property.
    • Collect all life insurance proceeds payable to the estate.
    • Find and inventory all real estate deeds, mortgages, leases and tax information.  Provide immediate management for rental properties.
    • Arrange ancillary administration for out-of-state property.
    • Collect monies owed the deceased and check interests in estates of other deceased persons.
  • Find and safeguard business interests, valuables, personal property, important papers, the residence, etc.
  • Inventory all assets and arrange for appraisal of those for which it is appropriate.
  • Determine liquidity needs.  Assemble bookkeeping records.  Review investment portfolio.  Sell appropriate assets.
  • Pay valid claims against the estate.  Reject improper claims and defend the estate, if necessary.
  • Pay state and federal taxes due.
    • File income tax returns for the decedent and the estate.
    • Determine whether the estate qualifies for special use valuation under IRC Sec. 2032A or the deferral of estate taxes under IRC Secs. 6161 or 6166.
    • If the surviving spouse is not a U.S. citizen, consider a qualified domestic trust to defer the payment of federal estate taxes.
    • File federal estate tax return and state death and/or inheritance tax return.
  • Prepare statement of all receipts and disbursements.  Pay attorney’s fees and executor’s commissions.  Assist the attorney in defending the estate, if necessary.
  • Distribute specific bequests and the residue; obtain tax releases and receipts as directed by the court.  Establish a testamentary trust (or pour over into a living trust), where appropriate.

These materials were reproduced with the permission of Advisys, Inc. No State Farm® entity prepared these materials nor does State Farm represent or warranty the opinions or statements expressed therein. These materials are being provided for information purposes only.

State Farm® (including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates) is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites hyperlinked from this page. State Farm has no discretion to alter, update, or control the content on the hyperlinked, third party site. Access to third party sites is at the user's own risk, is being provided for informational purposes only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell any of the products which may be referenced on such third party sites.

Get a Quote

Select a product to start a quote.

Contact Us

844-373-0003 844-373-0003

Also Important

What is a Will and Why Do You Need One?

Having a Will can give you peace of mind knowing your requests will be followed.

Review Your Estate Planning Checklist

This handy estate planning checklist form can provide thought-starters for tasks involved with planning your estate.

Related Articles

Preparing a living will & other choices for end-of-life care

Preparing a living will & other choices for end-of-life care

It's not the most pleasant task, but making your preferences known in a living will has to be done.

Wills and Trusts: an Estate-Planning Primer

Wills and Trusts: an Estate-Planning Primer

The differences between these common estate planning documents and their functions.

Should I Consider an Annuity?

Should I Consider an Annuity?

Many people have questions about annuities. State Farm Agent Sammy Yim is here to help answer them.