The executor (called a personal representative in some states) is the person named in a will to be in charge of winding up the person’s financial affairs after death. Basically, that means taking care of property, paying bills and taxes, and seeing to it that assets are transferred to their new rightful owners. If probate court proceedings are required, as they often are, the executor must handle them or hire a lawyer to do it.
Executors can request payment from the estate. The exact amount is regulated by state law and is affected by factors such as the value of the deceased person’s property and what the probate court decides is reasonable under the circumstances. Commonly, however, close relatives and close friends (especially those who are inheriting a substantial amount anyway) don’t charge the estate for their services.