An Estate Executors Powers and Limitations

An estate executor reading the estate distribution

An estate executor is an individual appointed to carry out the estate distribution and will after the will-maker dies. You should name the estate executor as soon as possible though they can only act after your demise.

Estate executors have certain duties and limitations that we have covered in this guide. If you need legal advice on estate planning, probate process, or guardianship, click here.

What Can An Estate Executor Do?

An estate executor uses the assets to pay for your debts. They’re also responsible for the funeral expenses. Besides paying debt and bearing funeral expenses, they also distribute the assets among heirs according to the will.

The executor manages the probate process, so they also interact with the probate court to decide how to handle probate assets. The responsibilities of an estate executor include:

  • Identify assets and notify heirs and other interested parties.
  • Open probate with the probate court.
  • Manage estate administration.
  • Pay the deceased’s debt.
  • Distribute property and funds to heirs.
  • Close the estate.

An executor will have to make many decisions while carrying out these duties. They have to decide what happens to the deceased’s estate until it’s distributed to rightful heirs. This means they will also have a say on many matters that aren’t limited to the duties above.

What Can An Estate Executor Not Do?

Estate executors have a fiduciary duty to estate beneficiaries. Thus, they must work in their best interests of them. An executor can’t do anything to intentionally harm beneficiaries’ interests. Here are some of the limitations of estate executors:

Carry Out the Will Before Will-Maker’s Death

The estate executor doesn’t have the right to carry out the will before the will-maker passes away. They cannot make final decisions about how a person handles their assets just because they’re named an executor.

Sign the Will on the Deceased’s Behalf

If a deceased didn’t sign a will, the executor cannot sign it on behalf of the deceased. In the case of an unsigned will, the estate is managed under state intestate succession law. As an executor, you’re legally not allowed to sign the will.

Manage Estate Before Appointment

An estate executor cannot take action to manage the estate before their assignment. They can do a basic analysis to determine the estate before filling out the probate petition. However, any action taken beyond that, such as making distributions or selling assets, isn’t allowed until the court approves the petition.

An estate executor filing a probate petition

Talk to Queens’ reliable probate attorney nyc at Ledwidge & Associates, P.C. We offer legal counseling and guidance necessary to make informed decisions regarding a will’s validity, inheritance, and other aspects of estate execution. Schedule an appointment with our estate law attorney Brooklyn today!



The following two tabs change content below.
An Estate Executors Powers and Limitations

Ledwidge & Associates

Ledwidge & Associates, P.C. in New York City has years of experience helping clients create estate plans that fit their needs. We have the experience and resources to handle your critical legal matters with the utmost care and attention to detail.
An Estate Executors Powers and Limitations

Latest posts by Ledwidge & Associates (see all)