We are a Veteran Owned Business, providing 20% discounts for Veterans, First Responders, Elementary and High School teachers. We remain open during the shutdown period, so please contact us to set up a phone or Zoom meeting. Taking care of you and your family, It's What We Do!

Skip to Content
Klenk Law

What is an Executor as Compared to a Trustee?

Posted on Sun Nov 8, 2020, on Probate and Estate Administration

From Our “Ask a Question,” Mailbag: “What is an executor as compared to a trustee? Are they interchangeable?”

What is an Executor as Compared to a Trustee

Probate Lawyer, Peter Klenk

What is an Executor as Compared to a Trustee?

Before answering this question, it is important to understand what a “fiduciary” is. A fiduciary is a person or organization with a legally enforceable duty to act in the interest of someone else. A legal document can endow a fiduciary to perform certain tasks.  For example, managing assets and making healthcare decisions.

Follow this link to learn more about Breach of Fiduciary Duty.

Executors and Trustees are Fiduciaries.

Both executors and trustees are fiduciaries that must act on behalf of someone else and have a duty to act in that person’s best interests. What is the difference between an executor and a trustee? A will appoints the executor while a trust appoints the trustee.

Properly drafted wills have a provision appointing an executor. Upon the decedent’s death, the executor has an obligation to identify the decedent’s assets and distribute them to the beneficiaries listed in the will. The executor must also pay the decedent’s debts and taxes.

The Executor’s Job.

For some estates, the executor’s role is very straightforward. It might just entail liquidating bank accounts and distributing the proceeds to the beneficiaries. However, the executor’s role can quickly become complicated when there are more significant estate assets. The executor can quickly become overwhelmed in juggling business interests, real estate, investments, debts, and ensuring every beneficiary gets their fair share of the estate. Our experienced probate attorneys can help you do just that! [link to probate]

Like an executor, a trustee has a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of beneficiaries. This time, the beneficiaries are set by a trust instead of a will. A trust can be created during one’s lifetime or after death through a will. 

Follow this link to learn more about Irrevocable Trusts or this link to learn more about Revocable Trusts.

Wills that Form Trusts.

If a will creates the trust (known as a “testamentary trust”), the will must appoint both an executor and a trustee. After the decedent dies, the executor is in charge of funding the trust. The executor’s job is complete once the estate administration ends.  The trustee must continue to manage and/or distribute the trust property according to the terms of the trust.

In conclusion: What is an Executor as Compared to a Trustee?

I hope you found helpful this short article helpful.  My goal was helping you understand  What is an Executor compared to a Trustee. I have also included links for more detailed information. If you are interested in drafting or updating a will or trust or being appointed a fiduciary, contact us.  Let our estate planning and probate lawyers walk you through the process.  Contact our office for a free consultation. 

Wills, Trusts, Probate, and Estate Litigation, It’s All We Do!

It’s What We Do!

By Andrew Barron, Esq.

Tags:

Executor, Trustee

What Our clients are saying

Klenk Law Logo
Stars

Peter Klenk ESQ is a thoughtful and capable attorney who we work with on estate planning issues. His firm recently provided us with new Wills, Power of Attorneys and our instructions regarding major health issues. These documents are important for estate and life planning. Peter and his team are masters in the complexities of Estate Law. We highly recommend Peter and his Associates to provide thoughtful advice and outstanding work on these complex issues of the law. Make sure your estate planning documents are up to date, and Peter can be relied on to do an excellent job. Well done Peter!

Klenk Law Logo
Stars

Peter is excellent. I had a very complicated situation with my parents' estate planning and potential Medicaid needs. Peter was very knowledgeable in estate planning matters, able to define the best solution for the situation. Additionally, he was congenial and able to communicate effectively to my senior citizen parents the benefits of estate planning. He earned my trust, and more importantly, my parents' trust in a 45 mins consultation period. Highly recommend Peter. He is very easy to work with.

Klenk Law Logo
Stars

Peter Klenk is an extraordinary attorney with positive guidance and knowledge for all of your Trust and Estate needs. We have used him for over 20 years.

Klenk Law Logo
Stars

Peter Klenk & Associates is my go-to firm for estate planning and advice in probate and estate administration. Peter and his attorneys are top-notch and exceptionally responsive. Peter has the knack of being able to explain extremely complex tax and estate planning issues in a manner that clients are easily able to understand and comprehend allowing them to confidently make important decisions.

Klenk Law Logo
Stars

I was referred to Peter after my divorce to put documents together to protect my assets. He suggested a number of documents that would help protect my children and their future. Also, he put together wills, power of attorney and living wills. I initially spoke with him on the phone, he took 30-40 minutes to understand my situation and explain the benefits of having such documents. After a week or two, I met with him in his office and signed the documents. Everything else was remote phone calls and emails. He re-explained these documents and what whom to share. I am in good hands.

Let us put our expertise to work for you.

Free consultation within 24 hours.