The person you select to manage your estate and carry out your wishes is an executor or executrix if a female. An executor may also be appointed if one has not been chosen by you. Choosing your executor is one of the most critical decisions you have to make when you draw up your will. The executor controls the estate from the time of death until the last federal and state tax returns are filed and all assets have been distributed to the beneficiaries.
Generally, an executor takes charge of the decedent's assets and/or property and ensures all outstanding debts, charges and taxes are paid before distributing the net assets to the beneficiaries of the will. The executor is entitled to be reimbursed from the proceeded of the estate for expenses incurred in settling the estate.
A financial professional such as a CPA can be named co-executor to help guide a family member through the process.