Executor

Business, Legal & Accounting Glossary

Definition: Executor


Quick Summary of Executor


a person appointed by a testator to carry out the terms of the will.




What is the dictionary definition of Executor?

Dictionary Definition


A person or institution appointed by a testator to carry out the terms of their will.

n. the person appointed to administer the estate of a person who has died leaving a will which nominates that person. Unless there is a valid objection, the judge will appoint the person named in the will to be executor. The executor must insure that the person’s desires expressed in the will are carried out. Practical responsibilities include gathering up and protecting the assets of the estate, obtaining information in regard to all beneficiaries named in the will and any other potential heirs, collecting and arranging for payment of debts of the estate, approving or disapproving creditor’s claims, making sure estate taxes are calculated, forms filed and tax payments made, and in all ways assisting the attorney for the estate (which the executor can select).

  1. A person who carries out some task.
  2. legal Someone appointed by a testator to administer a will; an administrator.
  3. obsolete An executioner.

The person named in a will to handle the property of someone who has died. The executor collects the property, pays debts and taxes, and then distributes what’s left, as specified in the will. The executor also handles any probate court proceedings and notifies people and organizations of the death. Also called personal representatives.


Full Definition of Executor


A person named in a Will to oversee the disposal of the estate. Where there is no executor, it may be necessary for an administrator to be appointed (see: Administrator). An executor cannot charge the estate for his services unless this is authorized in the will, although he may be able to claim out-of-pocket expenses.

An executor, in the broadest sense, is one who carries something out (in other words, one who is responsible for executing a task).

Executor (female form: executrix) is also a legal term referring to a person named by a maker of a will, or nominated by the testator, to carry out the directions of the will. Typically the executor is the person responsible for offering the will for probate, although it is not absolutely required that he or she do so. The executor’s duties also include the disbursement of property to the beneficiaries as designated in the will, obtaining information about any other potential heirs, collecting and arranging for payment of debts of the estate and approving or disapproving creditors’ claims. An executor also makes sure estate taxes are calculated, necessary forms are filed and tax payments made, and in all ways assists the attorney for the estate. Also, the executor makes all donations as left in bequests to charitable and other organizations as directed in the will. In most circumstances, the executor is the representative of the estate for all purposes, and has the ability to sue or be sued on behalf of the estate. The executor also holds legal title to the estate property, but may not use that property for the executor’s own benefit unless expressly permitted by the terms of the will.

A person who deals with a deceased person’s property without proper authority is known as an executor de son tort. Such a person’s actions may subsequently be ratified by the lawful executors or administrators if the actions do not contradict the substantive provisions of the deceased’s will or the rights of heirs at law.

Where there is no will, a person is said to have died intestate – “without testimony”. As a result, there can be no actual ‘testimony’ to follow, and hence there can be no executor. If there is no will or where the executors named in a will do not wish to act, an administrator of the deceased’s estate may instead be appointed. The generic term for executors or administrators is personal representative.

Technically the executor becomes the legal owner of the estate of the deceased, although he is obliged to exercise the rights of ownership in accordance with the wishes of the deceased. The relationship between the executor and the beneficiaries of the will has some elements in common with the relationship between the trustee and beneficiary of a Trust.


Cite Term


To help you cite our definitions in your bibliography, here is the proper citation layout for the three major formatting styles, with all of the relevant information filled in.

Page URL
https://payrollheaven.com/define/executor/
Modern Language Association (MLA):
Executor. PayrollHeaven.com. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. September 25, 2021 https://payrollheaven.com/define/executor/.
Chicago Manual of Style (CMS):
Executor. PayrollHeaven.com. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. https://payrollheaven.com/define/executor/ (accessed: September 25, 2021).
American Psychological Association (APA):
Executor. PayrollHeaven.com. Retrieved September 25, 2021, from PayrollHeaven.com website: https://payrollheaven.com/define/executor/

Definition Sources


Definitions for Executor are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 28th April, 2020 | 8 Views.