ex·​ec·​u·​tor | \ ig-ˈze-k(y)ə-tər How to pronounce executor (audio) or in sense 1 ˈek-sə-ˌkyü- How to pronounce executor (audio) \

Definition of executor

1a : one who executes something
b obsolete : executioner
2a : the person appointed by a testator to execute a will

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Other Words from executor

executorial \ ig-​ˌze-​k(y)ə-​ˈtȯr-​ē-​əl How to pronounce executorial (audio) \ adjective

Examples of executor in a Sentence

He named his daughter as his executor.

Recent Examples on the Web

John Branca, the co-executor of Jackson’s estate, also gave comment to TMZ. Christian Holub, EW.com, "Michael Jackson accusers fire back at Dave Chappelle after controversial Netflix special," 28 Aug. 2019 Channels said Manson’s 2002 will, filed in Kern County in November 2017, names him the executor of Manson’s estate. latimes.com, "Manson pen pal still wants DNA test on man who says he’s killer's grandson," 21 June 2019 Roberts served as Ike’s financial adviser and executor, and, after Roberts helped arrange his run for President, as his bagman. Nick Paumgarten, The New Yorker, "Inside the Cultish Dreamworld of Augusta National," 14 June 2019 Once the will is determined to be valid, the executor named by the decedent would be officially appointed to divide up their estate. Chris Dolmetschbloomberg, Los Angeles Times, "The next Jeffrey Epstein drama: fighting over his mysterious estate," 12 Aug. 2019 The death was confirmed by Tom Prassis, the executor of his estate and an executive vice president of Sony Pictures Classics. Richard Sandomir, New York Times, "Ben Barenholtz, Midnight-Movie Innovator, Is Dead at 83," 5 July 2019 Ryan is a master executor who fully understands a play design’s intent and nuances. Andy Benoit, SI.com, "Atlanta's Offense Is Ready to Rock, But Will the Defense Be Able To Do Its Part?," 31 July 2019 The death was confirmed by Tom Prassis, the executor of his estate and an executive at Sony Pictures Classics. Richard Sandomir, BostonGlobe.com, "Ben Barenholtz, midnight-movie Innovator, dies at 83," 10 July 2019 An attorney for son Kecalf Franklin filed a petition on Monday to admit one or more wills, and asked the judge to name Kecalf a personal representative for the estate alongside current executor Sabrina Owens. Brian Mccollum, Detroit Free Press, "Are Aretha Franklin's handwritten wills admissible? No decision yet," 17 June 2019

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

18 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for executor

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 How to pronounce executor (audio) \

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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Comments on executor

What made you want to look up executor? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


formidable, illustrious, or eminent

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