The exact duties that are given to the estate executor may vary a bit, depending on precisely how the will is written and what desires the deceased had for the estate. However, there are some standard duties that are typically involved, and it's important to have a good grasp of how this process works if you're tasked with that responsibility.
For instance, the executor is the one who takes the assets from the estate and gives them to those who are named in the will. Until this is done, the executor is in control of these assets and keeps them safe.
The executor may also need to create a new bank account for any cash assets that are left behind. Typically, it's not advisable for the executor to deposit these in his or her own account, but the process can also take weeks or months, so a new account is needed to protect the funds while distribution takes place.
In some cases, payments have to be made in the future, and the executor may be the one who is in charge of doing so. For example, the family may have a cabin in the mountains that they want to keep in the family and share. The deceased may have left money behind that can be used to pay the property taxes or the mortgage. The executor can then make those payments with the money from the estate.
These are just three examples, but they give you a good idea of just how important this job is. It's crucial for all family members to fully understand their legal rights and obligations.
Source: FindLaw, "What Does an Executor Do?," accessed May 05, 2017