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What’s the difference between a trustee and an executor?

On Behalf of | Mar 21, 2022 | Estate Planning |

As an adult, you know the most responsible thing you can do is to create an estate plan, which includes a will. However, when it comes to understanding everything involved, there are a lot of complicated terms and legalese you must wade through.

When creating your estate plan, you are bound to encounter two terms: executors and trustees. While these individuals are alike in some ways, they also have different jobs for your estate.

Trustee vs. executor: A simple explanation

The person you assign as the executor to your will manages your estate after you pass away. They are also responsible for distributing your assets based on the instructions included in your will. To begin the distribution process, the executor must submit your will to the court and receive a court order to open probate.

A trustee is a person who is responsible for administering a trust. Trusts aren’t something everyone has in their estate plan; however, having a trustee is a must if you do. While their roles are similar, they deal with two different parts of your estate plan.

Choosing the right executor and trustee

It’s important to appoint someone you trust for both these roles. You should also discuss who you appoint to these roles when you create the documents. An executor can decline their role, which means the court will appoint someone to do this. If you want to avoid this situation, make sure the person you name accepts your decision.

While it may be tempting to leave these things to chance, it’s not a smart move. Failing to name these individuals may leave your loved ones with quite the headache after you pass away. A full and detailed estate plan will make things easier on everyone you love.