Types of Fiduciaries
An Executor is a person who is appointed by a court to carry out the instructions of a will and manage the estate of a deceased person. Often the Executor of an estate is a family member or close confidant of the decedent and aware (although not always the case) that they will step into this role upon the passing of a certain person.
**Note: Sometimes you may hear of a female with this role being referred to as an Executrix. This term is not commonly used now and every person in this role, regardless of gender, is generally referred to as an Executor.
A Personal Representative is simply another term used to describe an Executor, and is a person appointed by a court to carry out the instructions of a will and manage the estate of a deceased person.
NOTE: The terms "Personal Representative" and "Executor" are used interchangeably in many states, and the specific term used may depend on the jurisdiction or the specific legal document. However, some states use one term more commonly than the other. For example, some states such as Florida, California, and Texas typically use the term "Personal Representative", while states like New York and New Jersey use the term "Executor" more commonly. It is best to check the specific state laws or consult with an attorney to determine the term used in a particular state.
An Administrator is a person appointed by a court to manage the estate of a deceased person when there is no will or the will is deemed invalid. In this case, the court will appoint an individual to act as the Administrator of the estate and make sure that the assets of the deceased are distributed according to the state's laws of intestate succession. This individual is often a close relative of the deceased as those eligible to serve as the Administrator are also determined under the state’s laws of intestate succession. However, if none of those parties are willing or available to serve as the Administrator, it could also be any interested party that the court deems fit for the role.
- NOTE: The Administrator has the same responsibilities as an Executor, but the main difference is that an Administrator is appointed by the court, while an Executor is designated by the deceased in their will and appointed by the court when the will is admitted to probate.
**Note: Sometimes you may hear of a female with this role being referred to as an Administratrix. This term is not commonly used now and every person in this role, regardless of gender, is generally referred to as an Administrator.
A Trustee is an individual or organization that holds and manages assets or property for the benefit of another person, persons, or entity (i.e., the beneficiaries of the trust). A Trustee is often selected by a living person during their lifetime to carry out certain duties during life, as well as after they pass.