Preparing for your role as an executor

Having the responsibility of closing an estate requires time, patience and organization. Prior to accepting a request to be an executor, make sure you understand what your obligations will be.

Your preparation can improve your confidence and your ability to effectively handle each task. Your diligence may not only protect the testator’s legacy but provide comfort to surviving family members as well.


Learn about what you will need to do and how your responsibilities could impact your own life. According to CNBC, some of the common tasks for an executor include the following:

  • Settling debts
  • Distributing benefits to heirs
  • Closing accounts
  • Obtaining a death certificate


While the testator is still living, communicate regularly to ensure you understand expectations and the scope of your responsibilities. Learn about what that person cares most about. Become familiar with strategies and any personal requests for the delegation of assets. Hearing firsthand from the testator about final wishes will provide clarity and confidence to act in alignment with requests.


Closing an estate could require you to step away from your job and other responsibilities for a time. You will need the support of people close to you so you can effectively manage your life while you tend to your duties as an executor. Ask for help. Know where you can turn for support and who you can coordinate with.

Relying on other people who the testator trusted can lighten everyone’s load. If the testator proactively communicated with everyone while still living, all supporting parties can rally to help each other. Your ability to successfully perform your duties can make a considerable difference in how effectively the process of closing the estate goes.