How do Administrators Differ from Executors in Probate?
The roles of administrators and executors are essentially the same. It is the means by which they are chosen that distinguishes the two. If you are working in the capacity of administrator or executor for an estate, it is a good idea to hire a College Station probate attorney.
Executors and Administrators
When you create a will you generally will name a person to act as executor. This should be someone who is both trustworthy and knowledgeable of such affairs. When you die, then, the executor presents your will to probate court. The executor works both on behalf of the probate court and the estate, and is expected to carry out the decedent's wishes. The probate court will swear the person into office. Among his duties are to make sure that taxes and debts owed by the estate are paid, and then distribute the remainder of the assets to the beneficiaries.
At times a named executor is not able to fulfill the duties of the position. He may have become gravely ill or in some other way incapacitated. The named executor may also simply decide that he does not wish to take on the responsibilities of the position. The probate court can then name another individual to assume the role of executor. In such a case, however, the person's title is administrator. The court will also name an administrator if the decedent dies intestate, that is, without having created and signed a will.
Powers of the Executor/Administrator
Usually a will gives power to the executor to pay off the debts and taxes owed by the estate. Administrator's, however, do not have the power to take such action without the approval of the probate judge. In order to deal with banks, creditors and insurance companies, executors and administrators need proof of their power to act on behalf of the estate. This proof is in the form of letters testamentary.
Bonding the Administrator
The administrator must post a bond, which is generally at the rate of 1 ½ times the value of the estate. This is an insurance policy that protects both the probate court and estate against any mistakes or wrongdoing. The estate may, in some cases, pay this bond. Executors do not have to post a bond if the will specifies the waiving of this requirement.