California probate and trust matters can be confusing, especially when there are many different terms used interchangeably. However, when you are involved in administering an estate or trust, certain terms do not mean the same thing. Below is a summary of the difference between an executor, trustee and administrator.

  • Executor. An executor is named by the deceased person in their will as the individual appointed to serve as the legal representative of their estate. The executor is the person (typically with the assistance of legal counsel) who files the probate action with the court. An executor is entitled to receive payment from the estate for their services.
  • Trustee. A trustee is named in the trust document as the individual who will serve as the legal representative of an estate that will be distributed to beneficiaries through the trust. Until the assets held in a trust are transferred to the beneficiaries, the trustee holds the titles. A trustee is entitled to be paid a commission from the trust.
  • Administrator. When an individual dies without leaving a will, an administrator is appointed by the California probate court. The administrator is chosen from a list of relationships to the decedent, as set forth under California law. An administrator is entitled to receive payment from the estate for his/her services.

If you have been appointed to serve as an executor, trustee or administrator, let us help. You are responsible for completing several tasks, and there is little room for error. Don’t despair, however. We have helped hundreds of people in your situation. Just call to schedule your no-cost consultation: (714) 963-7543. At The Legacy Lawyers we are dedicated to your peace of mind.