What Is An Executor?

The term "executor" is derived from the executor's responsibility to execute or carry out the wishes of the testator. The term "testator" refers to the person whose will is being executed . Sometimes a testator will use the term "executor" if they have named a man and "executrix" if they have named a woman, this is a stylistic choice and the term "'testator" may refer to either a man or a woman.

A party may name a person or an institution as their executor in their will. After the party has passed away, role of the executor is to fulfil the terms of the testator. The fundamental tasks of an executor include identifying all of the deceased's assets, administering and managing the estate, satisfying any debts and obligations of the estate, and distributing and account for the administration of the estate. In order to satisfy these fundamental tasks, an executor may need to take further steps and more complex steps, which may make retaining a lawyer who can advise about the administration of the estate necessary.

A will usually includes instructions about how the deceased desired their estate to be distributed. There are many ways to distribute an estate, and one important duty of the executor is to ensure that they distribute the estate as the will instructs.

In Alberta, the Estate Administration Act governs the duties of an executor. Under the act, an executor is given the title of Personal Representative. A will may still refer to the Personal Representative as an executor or executor or executrix, but the legal title for the role is Personal Representative.

Some common duties and tasks include:

  • Locating and reviewing the will
  • Determine and potentially satisfy any debts of the estate
  • Determine if there is property outside of the province Determine nature and value of assets of the deceased Opening an estate account to deposit estate funds into Communicating with the beneficiaries of the estate Arrange for the transfer of jointly held assets
  • Make burial arrangements File tax returns
  • Communicating with beneficiaries concerning the administration of the estate