The short answer to if an executor can withdraw money from an estate
Absolutely. As long as the executor is acting on behalf of the estate, in accordance with a will, and performing with a sense of fiduciary duty, withdrawing from the estate’s account is a necessary and natural part of the probate and estate settlement process.
The slightly longer answer
An executor’s job and legal responsibilities include:
- Carrying out the wishes of the will if the deceased died testate (with a will), or according to intestacy laws if they passed intestate (without a will).
- Notifying all relevant creditors that they have an opportunity to make a claim against the estate
- Paying all taxes and debts on behalf of the estate
- Distributing inheritances to beneficiaries and heirs
And those executor duties often require moving funds in and out of accounts for things like:
- Paying the IRS
- Burial plot purchase
- Tombstone purchase
- Casket purchase
- Funeral home expenses
- Costs of the funeral service
- Transporting the body to the burial location
- Sending money to creditors to pay off debts
- Covering legal fees
- Paying for any useful probate tools
- Misc. fees like paying movers, transfer fees, and paying for the labor of an executor.
Learn more: What Expenses Can an Executor Claim? List and Actionable Advice
Because there is so much money moving around, executors create estate accounts to centralize all the funds — just like people do with business accounts. Then they put money in and take money out of the estate account for whatever justifiable reason.
Think of it like a bucket executors can take water in and out of, as long as they are using it to water the garden of the person who passed & keep track of how much they used.
As an executor, it’s ideal to keep records of everything you do to prove to the probate courts and beneficiaries you are taking your role seriously and performing it correctly.
So YES. Executors withdrawing money from an estate account is extremely common — in essence a required part of settling an estate.
Don't forget to write off executor expenses
Any cost executors pay out of pocket should be reimbursed by the estate (within reason, of course). You can also write off these expenses to reduce the taxable estate value. For a complete list an advice on executor expenses, check out: Every Expense an Executor Can Claim