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The role and responsibilities of an executor in an Illinois will

On Behalf of | Jul 26, 2022 | Estate Planning |

Becoming an executor of a will is a serious responsibility. The law defines the duties of an executor of a will in Illinois, and also defines the penalties for abusing the role.

A decedent nominates an executor in their will to oversee the affairs of their estate when they die; however, the probate court must approve the executor’s appointment. Once probate approves an executor they must accept the responsibilities and the legal duties or decline the role.

Fiduciary responsibility

Fiduciary duty to an estate requires the executor to maintain loyalty to the estate. They cannot make decisions that benefit themselves or abuse their position with the estate to enrich themselves.

Any violation of fiduciary duties can bring about penalties per Illinois probate law. These can include removal from any role with the estate, fines and even criminal prosecution.

Distribution of Assets

The primary responsibility of an executor in Illinois is properly distributing assets to the beneficiaries. An executor begins by taking inventory of the assets, then must safeguard them until the heirs receive them. The court oversees this process step by step.


An executor can receive reasonable compensation for their services, as their time spent managing an estate deserves reimbursement. The judge sets the parameters for payments when they approve the executor; commonly calculated by the hour. Illinois courts must approve all payments to ensure fairness.

Acting as an executor for a will in Illinois is a serious role with responsibilities defined by law. Accepting these duties is a significant commitment.