An executor is a person who is named in a will to represent and manage a deceased person’s estate as it goes through the probate process. Under Tennessee law, the executor has a host of different responsibilities that range from managing the property to notifying the creditors and the heirs of the estate about its assets. The executor leads in managing the probate process, and they work hand in hand with the probate court to handle all the probate assets. Their duties include, but are not limited to:

  • Petitioning the probate court to open the estate
  • Taking into account all the assets of the deceased
  • Notifying creditors that an estate has been opened
  • Notifying the heirs and beneficiaries of the assets
  • Managing the administration of the assets
  • Taking into account any debt the deceased left behind and using the assets to clear them
  • Ensuring all the assets are properly distributed to the heirs

Executors have the authority to make decisions involving the estate, from the opening of the estate, to the management and distribution of assets. There are plenty of matters in which they have the last say. However, there are still some limits and restrictions as to what an executor may and may not do.  For one, an executor may not act against the interest of the beneficiaries. As easy as that may sound, it may be very challenging to figure out which bounds an executor should not cross.

Some other things an executor may not do include:

  • They may not execute the will before the owner of the property passes
  • They may not sign a will on behalf of the deceased
  • They may not take action on the assets such as selling or clearing debt before the court appoints them as the executor.
  • They may not change any part of the will

Any violation of the legal responsibilities of an executor may result in the court holding them in contempt. If you have been named the executor of a will, you may want to consider consulting with a qualified attorney who handles probate matters to ensure that you understand your duties and limitations as an executor under the law.