Trying to figure out the difference between executor vs administrator?
One has more authority over the estate compared to the other.
One has limitations that the other does not.
And one is court-appointed, meaning it could be anyone.
In this article, you will learn everything about executor vs administrator, including:
- What Is An Executor?
- What Is An Administrator?
- Differences Between Executor vs Administrator
- The Administrator of Estate Duties
- How To Become The Administrator Of Estate
- Can An Executor Decide Who Gets What
- Does An Executor Have To Show Accounting To Beneficiaries
- Executor Responsibilities To Beneficiaries
- Can You Get Paid Executor Fees
- Can An Executor Sell Property Of The Estate
When the courts appoint an administrator to an estate, they can choose anyone. This includes creditors or third-party companies. Meaning you and your family lose all control over the estate.
If you want to create a will for your estate or file a petition to become the administrator of an estate, fill out the form below for a free consultation. Free consultations are first come first serve. We always run out of slots. Make sure you get yours locked in now.
What Is An Executor?
An executor is a person who gets appointed to distribute the estate of a deceased person.
The executor’s main duty is carrying out the instructions of the will and testament.
The executor gets appointed by the person creating the will.
If there is no will, the executor is court-appointed.
What Is An Administrator?
An administrator is a court-appointed person who handles the financials of a deceased person.
The administrator will organize the estate and settle debts, expenses, and other obligations.
The administrator will also distribute the remaining assets per the will.
If there was no will, they will distribute assets per intestacy laws.
Executor vs Administrator
There are not a lot of differences between an executor vs administrator.
Let’s talk about the similarities between an executor vs administrator.
Similarities Between Executor vs Administrator
Both the executor and administrator:
- are subject to the jurisdiction of the probate court
- sell properties and pay taxes
- collect and close banking and investment accounts
- open estate bank accounts
- gather and distribute assets
- pay off the necessary debts from the estate
- are fiduciaries and have to act in the best interest of the estate
- can be restricted by the courts
Related: Estate Planning Checklist
Differences Between Executor vs Administrator
The main differences between administrator vs executor are:
- An executor is appointed by the will. An administrator is appointed by the courts.
- An administrator’s authority is limited to the intestacy law’s statutes. The executor has the same authority plus any other authority outlined in the will.
- The will gives the executor the authority to sell real estate without having to go through probate court.
- Executors distribute the estate per the will. An administrator distributes the estate per the intestacy laws.
- The courts may require an administrator to post a surety bond to secure the safety of the estate’s assets.
- If the courts appoint an administrator, the family members may be required to provide proof of kinship in a Kinship Hearing.
- An executor can take action on the will’s contents immediately after death. An administrator has to wait until the courts issue a grant of administration.
Related: Power of Attorney
The Administrator of Estate Duties
What are the executor or the administrator of estate duties?
The administrator of estate duties include:
- notifying creditors, banks, and government agencies (such as Social Security) of the death
- appear in court on behalf of the estate
- open an estate bank account to pay outstanding bills and manage any incoming funds
- file an inventory of assets with the court
- pay the estate’s taxes and debts
- distribute any assets to beneficiaries and dispose of any leftover property
- maintain the estate, including homes and property, until it can be distributed or sold
How To Become The Administrator Of Estate
An administrator of an estate gets appointed by the courts when:
- there is no will
- the will names an executor who won’t or can’t take on the executor responsibilities
When there is no will, the estate gets handled by intestacy laws.
The intestacy laws are different in every state.
But, in general, the courts will choose an administrator based on the size of the person’s interest in the inheritance.
It is not based on the “closeness” of that person’s relationship with the decedent.
The courts’ order of preference for the administrator of estate are:
- the surviving spouse
- parents of the decedent
- principal creditors
- a third party
You can apply to be an administrator of an estate.
To apply for the appointment of an administrator of an estate, you’ll need to file a:
- petition for administration of the estate
- death certificate
The petition for administration of the estate will include information like:
- date of death
- names of surviving family members
- names of beneficiaries named in the will
- name of your probate attorney
- the person named as executor in the will
Every probate court has different petitions for the administration of the estate.
If you need help, consult your probate attorney.
Let’s talk about can an executor decide who gets what.
Can An Executor Decide Who Gets What
Can an executor decide who gets what depends on the power of appointment in the will.
If the will lists people and directions on how to distribute assets, the executor has limited power of appointment.
But a general power of appointment allows the executor to decide who gets what.
If the will does not explain what to do with the estate, the executor can even keep the estate for themselves.
Does An Executor Have To Show Accounting To Beneficiaries
Between the death and until the estate has been distributed, the executor has to show accounting to beneficiaries.
They have to maintain receipts and related documents.
The executor has to show accounting to beneficiaries.
Most states require that they also file the receipts to the courts to finalize probate.
Executor Responsibilities To Beneficiaries
The executor’s responsibilities to beneficiaries are:
- notifying them that they are beneficiaries
- timely distribution of the estate to the beneficiaries
- provide information on the assets and debts of the estate
- provide information on how the executor plans to repay debts from the estate
We know what the executor’s responsibilities to beneficiaries are.
But what about things an executor does not have to do?
An executor does not have a responsibility to beneficiaries for:
- distributing the estate at the time of notifying the beneficiaries
- including the beneficiaries in the decision-making processes
Can You Get Paid Executor Fees?
Executor fees average 1.5%-2% of the estate.
Some states have specific executor fees guidelines to follow.
Most states allow executors to charge “reasonable” executor fees to the beneficiaries.
To charge executor fees, you would bill the estate.
Can An Executor Sell Property Of The Estate
An executor can sell property of the estate without approval from the beneficiaries.
The executor only has to notify the beneficiaries they are going to sell property of the estate.
Protect Your Family
We see people pass away without wills all the time.
Their inheritance gets split up by the government.
Their spouses don’t get what they deserve.
Their kids don’t get fair splits of the inheritance.
It’s usually a mess and never turns out how the family wants it to.
Fill out the form below if you don’t want the government to be in control of your inheritance.