DEFINITION of 'Executor'

An individual appointed to administrate the estate of a deceased person. The executor's main duty is to carry out the instructions and wishes of the deceased. The executor is appointed either by the testator of the will (the individual who makes the will) or by a court, in cases where there was no prior appointment.


The executor is responsible for making sure all assets in the will are accounted for, along with transferring these assets to the correct party. He or she also needs to ensure that all the debts of the deceased are paid off, including any taxes. The executor is legally obligated to meet the wishes of the deceased and act in the interest of the deceased. The executor can be almost anyone but is usually a lawyer, accountant or family member, with the only restriction being that he or she must be over the age of 18 and have no prior felony convictions.