An executor is a person appointed in a will to act on behalf of the deceased after death and is responsible for settling the estate.

What does an executor do?

The executor is responsible for dealing with the management of the estate until complete. The executor can carry out these tasks as they see fit, but does have a duty of care with regard to the heirs. In addition, the executor is responsible for the payment of debts of the estate and for the execution of any testamentary obligations. The competences of the executor can be extended on the basis of the will. Amongst other things, the will can include a testamentary obligation or the settlement of administration by an administrator with the powers of an executor.


One of the obligations of the executor is to provide information to the heirs about the execution of the task. The executor must also draw up a description of the estate and ask the creditors to submit their claims.


The salary of the executor is usually included in the will. If nothing is stated in the will, a legal salary applies of 1% of the value of the deceased’s capital on the date of his death. It is possible to deviate from the salary indicated in the will or the legal salary, if the will provides for this or if unforeseen circumstances apply.


The task of the executor can end prematurely for various reasons, such as death or bankruptcy. In addition, it sometimes happens that the executor no longer wants the role or that the heirs are dissatisfied with the performance of the executor. The district court will decide on a request for the dismissal of an executor and may appoint a new executor if the will allows for this.

The inheritance lawyers at GMW lawyers can assist you with these and related matters. Please contact us by phone, email or in person, or submit your question online.

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