Executor’s Duties

elder law attorneysThe duties of an executor involve dealing with issues concerning a dead individual’s property. The executor pays the decedent’s debts and taxes. He or she sees to it that the assets are given to the individuals named in the will.


An executor is a fiduciary. The executor has a duty to act with a high degree of good faith and honesty concerning the handling of an estate.

Duties of an Executor

  • Locating the decedent’s assets and managing them until they are distributed to the individuals who inherit under the will.
  • Probating the will. In New York State wills must be probated in the Surrogate’s Court. The probate process involves the court accepting the will as being valid.
  • The handling of day to day issues involving the deceased assets. This involves notifying banks and government agencies, such as Social Security, Medicare and the Department of Veterans Affairs of the decedent’s death. It also may involve paying debts and liquidating assets such as the sale of real estate or stocks and bonds.

Attorney for the Executor

The executor hires a lawyer to deal with the legal issues involved in probating the will and distributing assets. The lawyer representing the estate is actually the attorney for the executor and not the attorney representing the beneficiaries. If the beneficiaries desire they can retain their own lawyers to represent them and protect their interests in the estate proceeding. If the will is challenged, the attorney for the executor litigates the challenge to the will in the Surrogate’s Court. If you are named as an executor feel free to call us to discuss your responsibilities and how we can help you!

probate lawyerElliot Schlissel is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. He has been representing individuals in wills, trusts and estate cases for more than 35 years. Elliot and his staff of attorneys provide high quality legal representation regarding all types of estate litigation throughout the Metropolitan New York area.