So you have been asked if you are willing to be the Executor of your Aunt Mildred’s Last Will & Testament. You are asking yourself, what does an executor do? Fair question. There is a statutory answer to that question¹, but I want to give you a general answer so that you can have a better idea of whether or not you want to agree to help Aunt Mildred in this way.

Being named the executor or executrix in a Will means that you are the person who is being trusted to carry out the testator’s wishes.² You will be the responsible party who is recognized as the legal representative of Aunt Mildred’s estate. You will receive Letters of Administration which will permit you to do things like opening an estate checking account, work with her banking and investment accounts, negotiate amounts due, and generally be the financial representative of her estate. But it does not end with finances. . .

If Aunt Mildred owned real or personal property, like a house or a car, you are now the person who is empowered to deal with them on behalf of her estate. In addition to settling Aunt Mildred’s affairs with her finances and her real and personal property, you are also responsible to pay all of the inheritance and estate taxes which are due.
I am occasionally asked the question, “Can I take care of my mother’s estate on my own?” My answer is, “Yes, if you know everything I know. Otherwise, you should consider having our law firm assist you.”

On the bright side, you will be paid a fee for your work, traditionally 3 to 5 percent of the gross value the decedent’s estate. On the less than bright side, that money is taxable income to you.

Please contact Mateya Law Firm to assist you with estate administration when the need arises.


[1] See 20 Pa.C.S. 3311 et. seq.  for the statutory answer to this question.

[2] Testator is the person writing the will.