A trustee is a person named in the trust tasked with distributing assets to the beneficiaries per the terms of the trust. They are responsible for things like maintaining records of the trust, managing bank accounts for the trust, paying bills necessary, and distributing assets as laid out in terms of the trust. They are also involved in making decisions about the long-term management of property and investments.

What is an Executor?

An executor is named in the last will and is responsible for distributing the estate to the beneficiaries as stipulated in the will. They are generally required to file the will, open a bank account for the estate, pay the bills and taxes out of the estate, take inventory of all assets, notify all necessary parties of the death, appear in court on behalf of the estate, and closeout the estate with the probate court upon death.

What are Some Main Differences Between a Trustee and an Executor?

In general, executors will distribute assets per the will and under the probate court’s supervision. They are expected to attend court proceedings, and the length of time to fulfill their requirements is significantly shorter than that of a trustee.

A trustee has more of a management role for the life of the trust, which can begin during the trustor’s life and continue long after their death. This can mean a significant length of time, in some cases decades, of responsibility. A trustee is not typically expected to be a part of the court proceedings.

How Does One Choose an Executor or Trustee?

Based on the requirements above, trust is the main factor in choosing a person for either role. This person is required to handle the most personal aspects of your life after your death, and in some cases, while you are still living. It should be someone who will have a professional approach and be unemotional in the performance of their duties.

It is also essential to consider the length of time each role will require. As mentioned above, an executor’s commitment is significantly less than a trustee’s. This may mean seeking a representative outside of the family, such as a financial advisor or a management company, to be a trustee. Sometimes, you can assign trustee and executor duties to the same person.

It can be challenging to plan for a future we can’t be sure of. It is crucial, however, to have a plan in place, especially if significant assets are involved and you want to ensure that they are allocated as you intend.

Contact our office today at (704) 286-0947 with your specific questions. We have multiple experienced attorneys that can assist you with your needs and work with you to make sure you have thought of everything and can rest easy knowing you have gone above and beyond to protect your family long after you are gone.