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Trustee vs. Executor: What’s the Difference Between a Trustee and an Estate Executor?

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When it’s about a property will or distribution, you often hear two terms—trustee and executor. Though the terms may seem similar, there have significant differences in terms of their duties.

Let’s know about a trustee and executor, their roles, and their difference. Also find a comparative study on trustee vs. executor.

What’s the Difference Between a Trustee And an Executor?

The distinctions between a trustee and executor lie in various factors and characteristics. To better understand, let’s first know about a trustee and an executor along with their roles in a legal matter.

Who is a Trustee?

A trustee is a person who manages assets on behalf of a third party. That particular asset will only stay under their supervision for a specific time. After that, when the trustee’s authority expires, that third party receives the assets.

When someone dies leaving their property, and their heir is a minor (under age 18), a trustee takes care of the property until the minor becomes eligible to receive the asset.

What Services Does a Trustee Render?

  • They share the trust declaration with the beneficiaries.
  • Coordination with executor.
  • The trustee takes care of the trust. They involve in investments associated with the assets as well.
  • Along with keeping records, they cover tax returns. Also, paying taxes.
  • The major task of a trustee is to distribute the assets properly among the beneficiaries as per wills.

Who is an Executor?

The task of an executor is to ensure the deceased person’s will is fulfilled. To be more specific, he carries out the instructions of the owner of the property, who will get it, or where it is to use.

Not only that, an executor has other responsibilities like ensuring proper paperwork or submission of the estate tax. They also take care of mortgages, credit cards, and other banking issues.

What Does an Executor Do?

  • The executor files the will and other relevant certificates and papers.
  • Manages the assets left by the deceased person.
  • They provide notifications to the beneficiaries and the creditors.
  • Pay the real estate and creditors’ bills.
  • Defend the will against any lawsuit and the will’s validity when necessary.

Similarities Between Trustee and Executor

The basic similarity between these 2 posts is that they cover the responsibility to govern a deceased person’s property. After taking care of them with good faith and honesty, they ensure a successful dispatch of the property to the real inheritor.

Both the executor and the trustee are accountable as they are in charge of the assets. As a core, both are engaged in administrative acts. For this reason, normally, people prefer a single person to cover both the responsibility alone.

Can an Executor Do the Job of a Trustee?

The answer is positive. You must have got a hint of this from the previous paragraph. It is possible to appoint a person as both the trustee and executor. One thing that must ensure that the person is trustworthy. Besides, a person should brief about the responsibility before recruiting a person.

It’s important to know if any of the duties or both of them are attainable for the person. Also, it won’t be wise to share all your confidentiality before getting a ‘No’ or ‘Yes’ from the potential trustee or executor.

What If You Want to Remove Your Trustee or Executor?

Recruiting a trustee or an executor has several motives. As the role(s) have different functions with the possibility of involvement of more responsibilities, it is as complex to execute the duties as recruiting one.

Your executor or trustee might be unable to fulfill their duties properly, such as dealing fairly with beneficiaries, following the terms of the will, or other responsibilities. You may not live that moment, and who will face the indecision is your successor.

The situation suggests removing or replacing the trustee/executor. Naturally, you cannot take this decision so easily. Contact an experienced nearby lawyer who can understand your problem and help you immediately with immediate consultation. Many firms provide initial consultations completely free.

What to Consider in Choosing a Trustee?

Choosing a trustee wouldn’t be as easy as it seems. After all, a person puts their reliance on another person for an uncertain duration. And, it’s about money, directly or indirectly. Thus, several things to consider.

  • A trustee has to be, most importantly, trustworthy. Also, those who are apparently going to live longer than the property owner.
  • A knowledgeable person about finance, responsible and a well-organized person is always preferable in this case.
  • A native person would help more. It makes the dealings easier. If the trustee lives outside the country, they should pay a bond. It suggests that the trustee has promised to pay a sum of money if they don’t fulfill their job honestly and ethically.
  • Having a background in an account or a lawyer would make a trustee more suitable.

Criteria for Choosing an Executor

If there is a positive response to the questions below, the executor can be chosen.

  • Do they have the interest to deal with the case and devote themselves to what the job demands?
  • Do they have the competency and willingness to take responsibility?
  • Is there any possibility of making them administratively and financially inclined?
  • Do they have experience in the respective case?
  • Do they retain good judgment ability along with objectivity and integrity?

Last Words

It’s not a surprise if no one has ever thought about the difference between a bay and a sea. Trustee vs. executor would be a new matter like that. We hope the article was well enough to capture the basic idea and will help you understand further study easily.