Once appointed, the executor is responsible for managing the estate in the same way a business person runs a business. This includes ensuring all debts are paid, all taxes are paid, all assets are taken care of, and then distributing the remaining assets to the beneficiaries in accordance with the law and will. The executor has the authority of the probate court to administer the affairs of the estate. The executor's most important power is to distribute assets to designated beneficiaries.
This involves transferring the title or deed to the new owners of the asset. This won't happen until all debts are paid, including federal taxes, state taxes, and estate taxes. The executor is nominated by their Last Will and Testament and is appointed by the Court. Their responsibilities include paying debts, collecting assets, resolving claims against the estate, and distributing assets among the beneficiaries of the will.
It is not possible for an executor to pay themselves a traditional “salary” as all compensation must be approved by the court before payment. In many states, the court requires the executor to submit a detailed inventory of the estate's assets. The executor's work can range from easy to difficult depending on the size and complexity of the succession. On rare occasions, an executor-beneficiary may violate their fiduciary duty and take an action that benefits themselves to the detriment of the estate or other beneficiaries.
Other beneficiaries do not have authority to make decisions regarding estate management but can hinder an executor's work if they do not believe they are acting in the best interest of the estate. The executor is obligated by their fiduciary duty to distribute money according to the will to beneficiaries of the estate. If evidence of misconduct is shown, they can be removed and replaced by another executor. If you can prove to the court that an executor is incompetent or has mishandled matters of the estate, they will be released and replaced with another executor. While a beneficiary acting as executor may raise a conflict of interest, this is rarely a problem due to their fiduciary duty owed to the estate and its beneficiaries. Some actions related to succession are simple but others may require assistance from an attorney experienced in estate, tax and estate planning.