ex·ec·u·tor | \ig-ˈze-k(y)ə-tər or in sense 1 ˈek-sə-ˌkyü- \

Definition of executor 

1a : one who executes something

b obsolete : executioner

2a : the person appointed by a testator to execute a will

b : literary executor

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Other Words from executor

executorial \ig-ˌze-k(y)ə-ˈtȯr-ē-əl \ adjective

Examples of executor in a Sentence

He named his daughter as his executor.

Recent Examples on the Web

Their daughter Belinda was given the vast majority of Ms. Neumann’s property and was appointed the preliminary executor of her estate shortly before Ms. Neumann died in 2016, according to Mr. Neumann’s lawsuit. New York Times, "Contested Auction of Basquiat Painting Can Proceed, Judge Rules," 8 May 2018 Richard Jablonski, a close friend and executor of her will, told NorthJersey.com. Ryan Gaydos, Fox News, "Special-ed teacher's $1M gift making scholarships possible," 13 June 2018 Lawrence Lacks, the executor of Lacks’s estate, said the family did not know until many years after his mother died that her cells were living in test tubes in science labs across the world. Deneen L. Brown, Washington Post, "Can the ‘immortal cells’ of Henrietta Lacks sue for their own rights?," 25 June 2018 In 2014, federal prosecutors put away one thief for six years for recruiting people to pose as heirs and estate executors in phony sales. Craig R. Mccoy, Philly.com, "A Philadelphia story: Falsely declared dead, home stolen and no one will help," 29 June 2018 His death, at a veterans hospital, was confirmed by Langdon Neal, the executor of Mr. Leighton’s estate. Mitch Smith, New York Times, "George N. Leighton, Lawyer Who Fought Segregation, Dies at 105," 15 June 2018 Many experts suggest picking someone who is a natural caregiver, because the executor will assist adult children and other family members in a time of need. Scott Nordlund, sandiegouniontribune.com, "How to make an estate plan in just 10 steps," 21 June 2018 In December, questions were raised about Inmon’s actions as executor in the estate of Elizabeth Doss, a Schertz woman who died at 91 in 2016. Lauren Caruba, San Antonio Express-News, "Area school board member charged with felony theft, perjury," 8 June 2018 In his will, Benson notes that if for some reason his 2015 trust did not exist at his death, Lauscha should be appointed as the executor of his succession. NOLA.com, "Tom Benson's will names Gayle Benson as sole beneficiary, leaves estranged family out," 17 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'executor.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of executor

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for executor

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin exsecutor, from exsequi

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Statistics for executor

Last Updated

16 Oct 2018

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The first known use of executor was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for executor



Financial Definition of executor

What It Is

An executor administers the distribution of an estate to beneficiaries.

How It Works

A will is a legal document that indicates how a person wants his or her estate (money and property) to be distributed after death. A will also may describe any wishes for funeral and burial arrangements and may designate guardians for minor children.

When the testator (the person who created the will) dies, the executor, who is named in the will, administers the distribution of the estate to the beneficiaries (a beneficiary is any person or organization that receives the assets after the testator's death). The executor's job also includes paying any bills and taxes owed by the estate as well as locating and protecting the assets until they are distributed. An executor often receives payment for his or her services, and the payment varies from state to state.

A testator can change a will at any time for any reason and should keep the original copy of the will in a safe place. A copy should be given to the executor.

Why It Matters

A will is central to a person's estate planning. In most cases, people create wills to protect the assets they have worked hard for and to ensure they are passed to appropriate individuals or organizations. The exector's job is to honor those wishes.

However, court procedures called probate are often required to pass assets from a testator to beneficiaries because the testator is no longer around to sign deeds and other documents necessary to transfer the assets. In probate, a judge must validate the will and then issue a court order to distribute the assets. The probate process can last from six months to two years or more and can cost from 4% to more than 9% of the gross value of the estate, depending on the laws of the testator's home state. Everything in a will becomes public record after it is probated.

Estate planning is a complex subject, and it is of particular importance to consult an estate-planning specialist when considering how to distribute assets after death.

Source: Investing Answers



English Language Learners Definition of executor

: someone who is named in a will as the person who will make sure that the instructions in the will are properly followed


ex·ec·u·tor | \ig-ˈze-kyə-tər \

Legal Definition of executor 

: a person named by a testator to execute or carry out the instructions in a will — compare administrator

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a state of commotion or excitement

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