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What is the Difference Between an Administrator and an Executor?

What is the Difference Between an Administrator and an Executor?

Estate planning can seem daunting and intimidating, especially if you lack familiarity with the terms and lingo involved in this complex area of practice. However, with a little bit of research and skilled legal representation on your side, you can overcome any anxiety you might feel about it. In this blog, we will discuss the difference between an administrator of an estate versus an executor. This is a distinction you must be made aware of if, for example, you are drafting your Last Will and Testament.

Administrators and Executors

An administrator, or administratix if female, is the individual who is in charge of an estate upon a person's death in the event that he or she does not have a Last Will and Testament. An executor, or executrix if female, is the individual whom the deceased named in his or her Will to take charge of the estate. An executor is responsible for getting the deceased person's affairs in order and distributing assets to, or for the benefit of, those named in his or her Will as beneficiaries.

An administrator and executor are both subject to the jurisdiction of the probate court and both carry similar duties, including the responsibility of identifying, gathering, and obtaining values of assets that belong to the decedent that is included in the estate. An administrator or executor is also responsible for filing tax returns on behalf of the decedent and the estate, for paying estate debts, and for distributing the assets to the beneficiaries or heirs if a Will does not exist.

Given the vast similarities these two share, you might be wondering what their key differences are and why you should appoint one versus another. The most important difference between these two roles is that an administrator's authority is limited by what the law provides within its statutes, whereas an executor has all the same legal authorities of an administrator, in addition to powers that might be granted in a decedent's Last Will and Testament.

The reason why one might want to appoint an executor through a Will rather than an administrator is that one of these options allows you to decide who will take charge of your estate. A parent can equally love all of his or her children, but if he or she believes one is too easily influenced by others to handle a dispute that might arise, that parent might want to appoint someone who is more prepared to deal with the aftermath of his or her death.

Long Island Estate Planning Attorney

At The Law Office of Michael J. Brescia, P.C., our firm stands out due to its client-centered approach and attention to detail. Our Long Island attorney has over 10 years of experience and will provide the knowledgeable perspective you require for your estate planning needs at this time. We have successfully helped clients with a variety of estate planning matters.

Contact our office today at (631) 386-8767 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.


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