Understanding the Roles of Estate Administrators and Executors

Understanding the Roles of Estate Administrators and Executors featured image

With estate laws varying from state to state and county to county, it’s not enough just to understand estate administration. You need to understand estate planning in Bucks County. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at two very important players in the estate settlement process: the administrator and the executor. Keep reading to discover what an administrator is, what an executor is, what duties they are responsible for, and more!


What are estate administrators and executors?

An estate administrator is appointed by the court when someone dies without a last will and testament in place.

Both administrators and executors perform similar duties of paying off the estate’s debts, distributing assets, and other functions. The main difference is that executors are named by the deceased in their last will and testament. Administrators are chosen by the court to manage an estate without a last will and testament.

Sometimes, administrators and executors of estates can collect payment. It is, after all, a big responsibility that requires your time and effort. However, both roles are considered fiduciaries, which means they’re required to act in the best financial interest of the estate.


What are their duties?

As mentioned above, being appointed administrator or executor over an estate can be a lot of work. Here’s what is expected of you as an administrator or executor:

  • If there is a will, you’ll need to file it with the probate court.
  • Notify the estate’s creditor’s, financial institutions, and Social Security administration.
  • Understand your state’s inheritance laws. In Pennsylvania, estates must be disposed of by will or passed to heirs according to PA Intestate Succession laws.
  • Appear in court as needed.
  • Request an IRS identification number for the estate.
  • Establish a bank account for the estate to pay bills and manage incoming cash.
  • File an inventory of assets with the court.
  • Pay all taxes and debts the estate is liable for.
  • Obtain necessary property valuations.
  • Dispose of any property not distributed to beneficiaries.
  • Maintain and re-title the estate’s physical property such as homes and vehicles until it is distributed or sold.
  • Reimburse funeral expenses.
  • File any insurance claims for death benefits.


Why use an executor?

Don’t let the court decide who will manage your estate. Take action now by creating a last will and testament and naming an impartial executor like the Estate Administration team at The First. Not only are we required to act as a fiduciary on behalf of the estate, we also don’t have any personal stakes in the process or preconceived notions about family dynamics.

Appointing a professional executor also alleviates the burden on your loved ones. Give them space to grieve without also placing the responsibility of estate administration on their shoulders. As you can see from the list above, fulfilling all the duties of an executor can be daunting for someone who has never done it before. Give everyone peace of mind by leaving estate administration to the professionals.


The First is your corporate executor in Bucks County!

If you’re looking for a local executor, The First’s Estate Administration team is based in Bucks County. Our professional staff has years of experience in settling Pennsylvania estates of all sizes. Let us handle the responsibility of being the executor of your estate; call us at (215) 968-4872 or contact a member of our team to ask questions and discuss your needs.