Executrix is a legal title used to refer to a woman who is either designated in a will or appointed by a probate judge to handle the disposition of the property belonging to a person who has died. This legal terminology is gender-based and only used for females serving in the role of the executor of an estate. A male performing the same duties is simply referred to as the executor.
Just like the male executor, the executrix must take over all aspects of handling the estate of the deceased. Essentially, her job is to see to it that all the directions and provisions in the will are carried out as specified by the will's creator or as required by law. Initially, she will need to bring together all the property belonging to the estate to determine its size.
Depending upon how large the estate is, it may or may not need to go through probate. Laws concerning the size of estates that are required to go through probate vary from state to state. If it must go through probate, the executrix files the will in court. She is responsible for notifying beneficiaries of the proceedings and managing all the affairs of the deceased during this period. The executrix pays the debts of the estate, files all required taxes, sets up any trusts that may have been directed by the will, and distributes property to the beneficiaries.
Once the property has been distributed, the executrix must file a final report with the court that summarizes all acts taken by her during the probate process. She provides a copy of the report to the beneficiaries who may then file legal objections to any of her actions. If there are no objections, the court will approve the closing of the estate and discharge the executrix from further duties.
Often, though, an estate does not have to go through probate. When that happens, the female executor directly carries out the wishes of the deceased as expressed in the will. She pays the debts of the deceased, makes any charitable bequests, and distributes the property to the beneficiaries.
Executrix is a title that still appears on court documents in some states. In everyday use, differentiating between executors on the basis of gender is something of an anachronism. An executrix is more frequently simply referred to as an executor. The generic term "personal representative" is also commonly used to apply to executors regardless of gender.