Q: What is the difference between an Executor and an Administrator?
A: An Executor is the person or persons named in one’s Will to administer and settle the deceased person’s estate according to the deceased person’s wishes set out in his or her Will.
An Administrator is the person or persons appointed by a judge (typically the local Surrogate in NY) to administer and settle a deceased person’s estate when the deceased person died with no Will, or if all of the named Executors in the deceased person’s Will are deceased.
Bottom Line: An Executor is chosen by you; an Administrator is chosen by a judge.
Why does the difference matter? It is better to have a Will naming who you trust and want to administer and settle your estate than to leave that important decision to a judge. In addition, there are typically more costs involved with having an Administrator appointed rather than an Executor – for example, the court often requires an Administrator to post a bond; whereas, most Wills contain a provision waiving the need for a bond.
If you don’t have a Will, consider having one drafted. If you have a Will, but haven’t looked at it in a while, take some time to review it to make sure the Executor you named is still able to act as Executor. Of course, if you have any questions, we are only a phone call or e-mail away.