What is the difference between the Administrator of an Estate and an Executor of an Estate?

Attorney in Raleigh NC: The Difference Between the Administrator of an Estate and an Executor of an Estate

During a probate process there is either an executor or an administrator. These positions will take care of an estate, after the court considers a will as valid.   It’s important to know the definition of both executor and administrator.  Though each role is very similar, there is a difference between the two.  Below, our attorney in Raleigh NC will offer reasons why they are different.

An executor is a person designated by a deceased person (decedent) to manage the decedent’s estate. This designation is accomplished in the decedent’s Will. Conversely, an administrator manages a decedent’s estate when a Will has not been accepted, or probated, into the Estate proceedings. Reasons for failure to probate a Will include: the Will did not follow stringent requirements, the Will was lost prior to death, and, most common, the decedent died without a Will.

Law controls the selection of the Administrator. Typically, the decedent’s closest relative has first right as Administrator. Although this may sound initially appropriate, there are plenty of situations when a decedent’s closest relative would do poorly administering the estate. For example, if a decedent’s closest relative is her young, inexperienced son, that son may make poor decisions in managing the estate. The ability to designate a competent Executor/Administrator of an Estate is one of the many reasons to have a legal Will.

Both the administrator and executor are subject to the jurisdiction of the Probate Court. Both the Administrator and Executor have similar duties, they are responsible for identifying, gathering and obtaining values of assets belonging to the deceased. This includes anything that’s listed in the will.

Each is also responsible for tax returns, paying estate debts, and handling any type of business that needs to be taken care of. They will also be responsible for distributing the assets to the beneficiaries or the heirs.

An administrator’s authority to make decisions for an estate is limited by law. This is the most important difference to remember.  The executor has all the same legal authority, but may have additional powers granted in the Last Will and Testament.

Attorney in Raleigh NC | Significant Actions Can Save Your Estate Time

There are two significant actions that can save an estate time, as well as money. The last Will and Testament can give the executor the power to sell real estate at private or public sales without having to go through another long process that could be lengthy, expensive, and overwhelming.

Those that have a Will can provide that the executor serve without posting a bond. A bond is a vast amount of money put in place to protect the estate against any type of fraud or carelessness. Though often required for an administrator, the bond may be waived by a decedent who trusted the executor when creating the Will. A bond should be posted by the administrator, unless the Probate Court decides differently.

It’s important to start estate planning the moment you begin acquiring possessions. Passing on without a Last Will and Testament could result in unnecessary costs, delays and procedures in the administration of your estate. It’s a good idea to contact an attorney to talk through your options. Giving sufficient thought to appointing an executor is important. Don’t wait too long. Contact attorney in Raleigh NC, Klish and Eldreth, PLLC to get your estate planning process started.

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