About Me:

My definition of a Common Executor is a person agreeing to be an executor that doesn’t have the background to handle a legal entity such as an estate. This person thinks that being an executor is nothing more than transferring the decedent’s personal property and assets to the designated beneficiaries. That is me, Robert Dowling Jr, a Common Executor. My background didn’t prepare me to serve as an executor for an estate. After graduating from UMass/Boston with a degree in Economics, I worked in banking for a few years and then software development to this day. Occasionally, knowing enough about tax law, I will assist tax professionals during tax season. However, none of this experience would brand me as an expert in estate law or estate planning. So, when I became an executor for the first time, I received an education I could never get in a classroom. The journey through estate administration and all the complexities that went with it was both frustrating and rewarding as I progressed through the administration. In the end, when the estate closed, I took some time to reflect on what I have learned. While reflecting, I realized that there was a big information gap related to the common executor. So, this blog is my attempt to close that information gap.

About the Estate:

In this administration, I constantly referred to the estate as an estate with good intentions, but with bad consequences. The decedent was my Uncle who lived a very long life but had no children as he married late in life. He outlived his spouse and never really got over her death. His plan for the estate was to leave a little something to those who were dear to him throughout his life. However, he never adjusted his estate plan when his wife passed. Eventually, he made an attempt but his health failed him and he passed away. This created some consequences that made administering the estate anything but typical. Fortunately, the estate properties were local to me in the Boston area which made administering the estate convenient but challenging.

About the Blog:

The Common Executor is about helping future executors and those planning their estates to avoid the pitfalls of estate administration. I will share with the readers the experiences I had and the dilemmas I faced and how I handled them. By reading this blog, future executors will be prepared for what is ahead of them, and for those planning estates, they will find ways to give their executor a smooth administration.

How this Blog Works:

My experiences as an executor are posted under the Estate tab on the main menu of the blog. These posts are mostly written using dialogue to bring emotion to the experience. Hopefully, this approach will help future executors that may find themselves in similar situations. The other tabs are more informational in context to share what I have learned in handling the estate and to share what I know professionally related to the estate.


  • Estate law is state specific. Probate laws, for those states that have a probate process, may have some differences from state to state. Furthermore, this blog is strictly based on my experience as an executor of an estate based in Massachusetts administered under Massachusetts estate laws. However, federal taxes are the same no matter what state you are from. Also, for states that do use a probate process, most laws have similarities with minor differences. Regardless, the information in this blog will be useful to anyone serving as an executor no matter where they may live.
  • Legal counsel suggested that I keep the people involved in this estate anonymous. This blog is more about the process than the people.

If you need to contact me for any reason, please feel free to contact me using the contact form in the contact page.