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4 things to think about before being an executor

On Behalf of | Jun 20, 2023 | Estate Administration & Probate, Wills |

Being asked to serve as an executor is a great honor for Maryland residents, but it also comes with several responsibilities. Before agreeing to serve as an executor for a friend or family member, there are some things to consider, including the amount of time and effort involved, the complexity of the estate and what type of compensation you can expect for your work.

It takes time

Before agreeing to serve as an executor, take a moment to familiarize yourself with how long the process will take. In addition to fulfilling the testator’s wishes, the executor also assumes responsibility for getting the estate through probate. If anyone wants to challenge the will, the process of probate litigation can make the process take even longer.

It’s a lot of work

In addition to having long, detailed conversations with the testator about their estate while they’re still alive, the estate executor must fulfill certain requirements after the testator dies. These responsibilities include:

  • Getting copies of the death certificate
  • Notifying insurance companies of the death
  • Notifying creditors
  • Handling debts and unpaid taxes
  • Securing assets in the estate
  • Distributing assets among heirs

How complex is the estate?

Some wills are straightforward and focus on distributing a few assets among heirs. However, more complex estates take a lot of time and more work. For instance, if the testator owned real estate in multiple states, the executor manages those properties as directed in the will.


Even though serving as an executor is an honor, it’s fair to expect compensation for your work. Each state has laws in place that dictate how executors receive payment. Some states pay executors by the hour while others pay the executor a percentage of the estate’s value or a flat fee.

Serving as an executor is a major decision. Before agreeing to that role, consider the amount of time and energy required, the complexity of the estate and how compensation works in Maryland.