An executor of estate can only be appointed if the deceased as a legally recognized will on record. If there is no will, the responsibilities of an executor are instead handled by a court-appointed administrator. The executor of estate is held accountable for enacting the provisions of the will as well as they are capable.
Ideally, the executor of estate will have some experience with taxes, since the executor will bear primary responsibility for handling the tax burden of the estate. It is also important that the executor of estate be able to work closely with the attorneys hired by the estate since they will have to work closely together.
The executor of estate will have to manage the affairs of the estate while the will is being interpreted, although the responsibilities of an executor of estate may extend in duration or scope if the will is challenged by one of the beneficiaries or by individuals who believe that they should have but were not named as beneficiaries.
An executor of estate may also be known by the generic term personal representative.
The exact role of an executor of estate will vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, since estate and probate laws vary widely.