When creating your Will, you’ll be asked to appoint one or more executors. As the name suggests, their job will be to ‘execute’ your will i.e. make sure the wishes contained within the will.
Initially, they will have your assets valued, and will pay any debts and tax due on your death, as well as collecting any debts owed to you. This will enable them to apply for a grant of probate, giving them control over your assets, which they will then distribute in accordance with the will. They will also deal with any conflicts arising out of that distribution. Where necessary they may also act as trustees for certain gifts.
An executor can either be close friend or family member, or can be a professional, such as a solicitor or financial institution. It is often useful to have replacement Executors, in case that an Executor unable or unwilling to perform their duties.