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By: Scott Grossman on September 15th, 2016

Five Differences Between an Executor vs. a Trustee in California

Knowing the differences between an executor vs. a trustee in California can help you a lot!

When handling the affairs of a loved one who has passed away, the executor’s role is vs. a trustee’s role is very different. If the deceased passed away with a will then there will be an executor to administer the estate.  If the deceased passed away without having a trust or an estate plan set up to avoid probate, there will be an administrator named to oversee the majority of the administration. Property that is in a trust is managed by the trustee. An experienced probate lawyer can assist you in understanding the difference in the roles of an executor vs. a trustee.

Here are five major differences:

  1. An executor must follow the probate procedures with probate court oversight. Often, a trustee may avoid involving the probate court.
  2. An executor carries out the terms of the will. A trustee carries out the terms of a trust.
  3. When the court admits a will into probate, then the court appoints an executor. A trustee appointment happens when the trustee accepts the position as outlined in the trust agreement.
  4. If most of the decedent’s assets were held in the trust before they died, the executor’s role is limited.
  5. The executor is only in charge of overseeing the assets that are a part of the probate estate. The executor is not in charge of the assets in the trust.

In addition, our free guide, The Insider’s Guide to California Probate and Trust Administration, provides additional information about what to expect during the estate administration process.

Administering a trust or estate requires the knowledge of a legal professional familiar with all of the requirements, rules, and regulations outlined by the California probate court. Contact an experienced California probate court attorney at the Grossman Law Firm today for assistance. Call our office at our toll-free number, (888) 443-6590, or submit a contact form.