Who Are The People Involved In An Estate Plan? What Are Their Roles?
Testator – A person who dies leaving a will.
Settlor – A person who establishes a trust. Also called a “grantor.”
Executor – A person named in a will by the Testator and appointed by the court to carry out the terms of the will and to administer the decedent’s estate. Also known as a personal representative. If a female, may be referred to as the executrix.
Administrator – An individual or fiduciary appointed by the court to manage an estate if no executor is named in the will, a person dies without a will, or if the executor is unable or unwilling to serve.
Trustee – An individual, bank, or trust company designated to hold and administer trust property (also generally referred to as a “fiduciary”).
Beneficiary – A person who is eligible to receive distributions from an estate or a trust.
Heir – An individual entitled to a distribution of an asset or property interest under applicable state law in the absence of a will. “Heir” and “beneficiary” are not synonymous, although they may refer to the same individual in a particular case.
What Are the Important Duties Assigned To Each Role?
The duties of an administrator are very important. The principal duties of a personal representative are:
- Inventory and collect the assets of the decedent;
- Manage those assets during administration;
- Pay claims of creditors and tax collectors of the estate;
- Distribute the remaining assets to the designated beneficiaries.
The administrator/executor of the estate has the right to sign documents, sell property, and distribute assets on behalf of the estate.
Does An Administrator Get Paid For Performing His Duties?
In New York, executors and administrators are entitled to compensation prescribed by statute. The fee is typically based on the size of the estate, unless the will or trust provides otherwise. Generally, fees are calculated on the combined value of the assets of the estate plus income. The executor or administrator may waive the fee.
What If An Administrator or Executor Doesn’t Want to Perform an Administration?
No one can be forced to be an executor. If a named executor or administrator does not wish to administer the estate, they can renounce the appointment by simply signing a renunciation form and filing it with the Surrogate’s Court. If a successor executor is named in the will, then that individual has the right to seek the probate of the will. If there is no designated successor executor in the will, then the closest relative of the deceased may petition the Court for the probate of the Will.
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