Choosing an executor

In your will, you’ll name an executor (also known as a personal representative). Your executor will administer your estate and distribute your assets to the beneficiaries as set forth in your will.

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Individual executor

You can choose almost anyone who is an adult and legally competent to serve—a spouse or partner, sibling, friend, business associate, or financial or legal advisor.

  • An agent for executor is a professional agent, such as Truist, hired by an individual executor. The agent advises the executor and handles administrative duties, but the executor retains decision-making and ultimate responsibility for the estate.

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Corporate executor

You can choose to name a corporate executor, such as Truist, to fairly and objectively execute the details of your estate plan—and opt to appoint a family member or friend as co-executor to provide oversight.

  • A sole executor takes complete responsibility for settlement, administration, and estate disposition.
  • A co-executor shares responsibility for oversight and administration with other individuals.

Duties of an executor or personal representative

The terms “executor” and “personal representative” are interchangeable and vary from state to state—but the duties and responsibilities are basically the same.


  • Collects and provides safekeeping for the estate’s assets
  • Collects any sums owed to the estate
  • Distributes assets to beneficiaries


  • Files the decedent’s final federal income tax return
  • Files the estate’s income tax returns and the federal estate-tax return
  • Files state death-tax returns


  • Notifies creditors and pays all valid debts
  • Files claims for retirement plan, Social Security, and veterans benefits
  • Sells assets to pay estate expenses or legacies

Additional resources

Get current, in-depth information on trust and estate planning.

Estate planning

3 stages of effective wealth transfer

Estate planning

Ways to protect your wealth with insurance

Risk management

Nearing retirement: Portfolio and risk management