The executor of an estate is a representative selected by the estate's owner in advance to handle the estate's business after death. Executors perform all of the administrative functions needed to carry out the wishes of the deceased in the will as well as to close out the estate. Tasks, such as obtaining a certified copy of the death certificate, filing the will in state probate court, paying bills, filing taxes and notifying potential beneficiaries that they are entitled to money or property, are all functions of an executor. There are four resources available to find out who is an estate's executor.
Call the estate's attorney. The lawyer who represented the deceased and who drew up the will can help you locate the executor of the estate. If you know the attorney who handled other affairs for the deceased -- such as his taxes or business affairs -- you can also contact him to ask about the estate's executor. Note that the attorney representing the deceased or his estate may ask a few screening questions about why you need the name of the estate's executor since inquiries about the executor usually come from creditors or potential beneficiaries.
Examine the deceased's will. The last will and testament that the deceased filed should name an executor or personal representative to handle the business of the estate. Some wills have multiple executors in case one of them declines service, is not capable of serving as executor or does not receive approval from the court to serve as the estate's representative. Check the details of the will carefully and make sure you read the most recent version of the will to determine the estate's executor.
Check with your local probate court. The estate's executor must file the deceased's will with the local probate court in order to begin the process of distributing money, real estate or personal property. You can visit the website of the deceased's local probate court to check recent filings, or you can call the clerk of the court for assistance in locating the estate's filing. The name and contact information for the executor of the estate will appear in the probate filings.
Look in the deceased's local newspaper. Executors must post a public notice in the local newspaper alerting creditors of their time limit to make claims against the estate. All public notices in newspapers regarding claims against estates must include the executor's name and contact information.