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What is the difference between an executor and an administrator?

When it comes to the disposition of the property of someone who has passed away in California, the task may either fall to an executor or an administrator. According to FindLaw, the duties involved in the two roles are very similar to one other.

The difference between an executor and an administrator has to do with the decedent's estate planning, or lack thereof. If you die without making out a valid will, your property will pass according to the process of intestate succession, and the court will appoint an administrator to take charge of that process and pass on your assets according to the laws of your state. 

On the other hand, if you make out a will, you will name someone to serve as the executor of your estate. Among other duties, the executor will grant your last wishes as to who receives your possessions and property after your death. 

When you appoint someone as the executor of your will, you are conferring both a great honor and a great responsibility upon them. In addition to distributing your property according the wishes expressed in your will, as well as applicable state laws, the executor is also in charge of financial matters such as setting up a bank account for the estate, paying final income taxes and settling any outstanding debts. The executor must contact the people named in your will so that they can inherit, and if there is a question as to whether or not the will needs to undergo the probate process, the executor is the one who will make the final decision.

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.

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