Usually the executor pays the fees and then gets reimbursed from the estate. The executor cannot hold the house hostage. If it is the only asset in the estate, and there are creditors, the estate will need to sell the house to pay the creditors and estate expenses.
Please note that I am answering this question as a service through Avvo but not as your attorney and no attorney-client relationship is established by this posting. An attorney-client relationship can only be established through signing a Fee Agreement and paying the necessary advanced fees.
The executor pays the bills either with estate funds, or gets reimbursed by the estate. He cannot live in the property and pay the mortgage simply because he is the executor. Only the person named to receive the property under the will has rights to the property.
The estate is responsible for the bills. Sometimes people or the executor will loan money to the estate because of liquidity issues but they are then entitled to reimbursement. The will controls who gets what - so it has to be followed.
This is not legal advice nor intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The information provided here is informational in nature only. This attorney may not be licensed in the jurisdiction which you have a question about so the answer could be only general in nature. Visit Steve Zelinger's website: http://www.stevenzelinger.com/