Common Executor EstatesExecutor Sorting Documents

When someone passes away, their estate typically goes through probate. If the decedent has a Last Will and Testament, that document will typically name an executor for the estate. The executor plays a very important role in the probate process. This person petitions the courts for letters of testamentary and manages the distribution of the estate’s assets to ensure the deceased person's wishes are fulfilled. Executors handle many different tasks involved in settling the estate, while also fulfilling their duty to act in the estate's best interest. If you would like to learn more about common executor estates in Florida or Minnesota, please consider scheduling a consultation with the estate planning and elder law attorneys at Roulet Law Firm, P.A. at our Venice, Florida office at (941-909-4644) or our Minnetonka, Minnesota office at (763-420-5087).

Who Are the Most Common Executors?

Individuals who have a close relationship with the deceased and are trusted to carry out their wishes are typically appointed executors to carry an estate through the probate process. Some of the most common executors include:

Family Members

Family members like spouses, adult children, siblings, or parents are commonly selected when choosing an executor. They typically have some awareness of the decedent’s assets and wishes since they had a personal relationship with the individual. Family members can serve as executors in both testate (with a will) and intestate (without a will) estates in Florida and Minnesota.

Close Friends

Executors can also be chosen from among close friends who are trustworthy and knowledgeable about the decedent’s affairs. Similar to family members, these individuals are likely to be well-versed in the individual's wishes and have the ability to handle the estate effectively.


Sometimes, people opt to assign an attorney as their executor. A good attorney will have the legal knowledge and experience to manage estates, ensure everything is done correctly, and follow the law. This option may be especially helpful when dealing with complicated estates or in cases of beneficiary disagreements.

Corporate Executors

Corporate entities like banks, trust companies, or professional fiduciaries can be chosen as executors for more extensive estates or complicated financial situations. These corporate executors provide professional services and manage administrative tasks for the estate.


Having more than one executor appointed to administer an estate as a team is common. These co-executors can include family members, friends, attorneys, or corporate entities. Co-executors can share responsibilities and contribute unique skills and expertise.

Common Types of Executor Estates

According to the Florida Bar Association, the state uses the term "personal representative" instead of executor or administrator. Like Florida, the State of Minnesota also refers to an executor as a personal representative. No matter the name, executor estates are categorized as the following:

Personal Estates

Executors are typically appointed for various types of estates, including personal estates. Executors of personal estates are tasked with distributing to beneficiaries the assets of individuals who have passed away. Such assets may include bank accounts, investments, real estate, personal belongings, and other valuable items. The executor's responsibilities include paying off debts, filing any taxes, and distributing the remaining assets to the heirs or beneficiaries.

Testate Estates

When someone dies and has a valid will, their estate is called a testate estate. The person named as the executor in the will follows the instructions and wishes listed in the document. The estate executor is responsible for handling the estate, which can include paying taxes and debts and distributing assets to the beneficiaries as outlined in the will.

Intestate Estates

When someone passes away without a valid will, or in the event that their will is considered invalid, their estate is referred to as intestate. In these scenarios, state laws determine how the estate will be divided among beneficiaries. The court will assign an executor, typically a close family member, to manage the estate and allocate assets while adhering to the state's intestacy laws.

Complex Estates

In some cases, estates can be complicated and involve a wide range of assets and legal issues, as well as multiple beneficiaries. These complex estates may include businesses, trusts, holdings in other countries, disputed claims or estates subject to either or both the Minnesota or federal estate tax. Executors of complex estates may wish to seek extra help from professionals like attorneys or accountants to handle the intricacies of estate administration.

Further Considerations

The tasks and obligations of an executor can differ based on the type of estate, the laws of the region, and any instructions specified in the will. Executors may benefit from seeking advice from legal professionals to review their responsibilities and receive support in fulfilling the executor estates duties in compliance with relevant laws and regulations. If you would like to learn more about these estates and the role of the executor, please consider contacting Roulet Law Firm, P.A.

Who Would be the Best Executor of an Estate?

When choosing an executor for an estate, there are various factors to consider, with the ideal candidate depending on the specific needs and circumstances of the estate. Any potential candidate should have:

  • Organizational and managerial skills
  • Financial literacy
  • Availability and time commitment
  • Communication and diplomacy
  • Knowledge of local laws and procedures
  • A personal connection to the deceased

When choosing an executor for an estate, the ideal candidate should have a mix of the listed qualities and be ready to assume the role. The best fit will be someone suitable for the estate's particular situation and requirements, and seeking advice from legal and financial professionals can be helpful in the decision-making process.

What Is the Most an Executor Can Charge?

The amount a personal representative can receive for their services is determined by law. They are entitled to reasonable compensation for their regular duties, calculated as a percentage of the estate's assets that go through probate. If the amount is deemed unreasonable or there are exceptional circumstances, the court can adjust the compensation. However, if the executor goes above and beyond their regular duties, they may be eligible for additional payment for extraordinary services. Any compensation must be reasonable, proportional to the services provided, and subject to court approval.

The statutory fee schedule is only a rough estimate, and the actual amount of compensation for an estate can vary depending on the unique circumstances and any agreements between the executor and beneficiaries. Also, beneficiaries can contest the compensation if they feel it is excessive or unjustified.

Contact a Florida or Minnesota Elder Law Attorney

An executor should be carefully selected and appointed to uphold the wishes and intentions of the deceased with integrity and care. They ensure assets are distributed orderly and navigate complex legal and financial matters during probate. If you would like to learn more about these executor estates, please consider scheduling a consultation with the estate planning and elder law attorneys at Roulet Law Firm, P.A. by calling our Minnetonka, MN office at (763-420-5087) or our Venice, FL office at (941-909-4644) .


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Chuck Roulet
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Nationally Recognized Estate Planning Attorney, Author, and Speaker
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