The building blocks of any estate plan start with a last will and testament. By leaving behind a specific list of instructions in a will for your loved ones, you control how everything plays out after you are gone — from who gets what assets and when to who should care for your minor children and everything in between. But there must be someone carrying out those wishes, and it’s up to you whether that person is hand-picked or assigned by the Court. This is the key difference between an executor and an administrator.
Executors and administrators are names given to the individual whose role is to manage the affairs of a deceased person. They have specific roles and legal obligations, much like a trustee for a trust and attorney-in-fact for a Power of Attorney. But unlike a trustee or attorney-in-fact, which one steps in depends on your unique situation.
What Is an Executor?
An executor is someone you appoint and name in your will to carry out your wishes when you’re gone. Generally speaking, the executor can proceed without Court supervision. Their roles and obligations can include but aren’t limited to the following duties:
- Paying certain bills and remaining debts
- Identifying and creating an inventory of all assets
- Following through with any burial wishes
- Maintaining property until it is sold
- Other personal wishes
What Is an Administrator?
An administrator performs all the same tasks that an executor would do, and they are legally obligated to do what’s in the best interests of your estate and family. With that said, you do not appoint them. The Court appoints them. This typically happens when someone doesn’t have a will.
Obviously, the administrator will do all they can to follow a person’s wishes. But their role may be significantly harder without a will in place to refer to. As a result, there is a chance that your wishes won’t be carried out exactly how you wanted.
The attorneys at Christman | Daniell Attorneys have valuable experience in preparing simple estate plans for families and individuals alike. Depending upon your needs and circumstances, proper estate planning could involve much more than writing a will. We are here to help you put together an estate plan that goes beyond the last will and testament with a revocable trust, living will, health care directives, powers of attorney, and various other documents.
Our attorneys will help you to create legal instruments to distribute your assets according to your wishes, nominate a guardian for minor children, minimize family disputes, avoid probate and estate administration, and plan for incapacity.
Please call Christman | Daniell Attorneys, for your legal needs today!
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