What Is The Difference Between An Executor And A Trustee?
To clear up confusion between the role of the executor and the trustee, we’re going to briefly outline how they differ and the main duties of each.
An Executor is the person (or people) who have been named in a will to administer the Estate of the deceased. Sometimes the will also appoint a Trustee, who will be responsible for managing any ongoing Trusts that are specified in the will.
Sometimes the same person can be named as both a Trustee and an Executor. To clear up any potential confusion between these two roles, we’re going to briefly outline how they differ and the main duties of each.
When a Trust has been established as part of the will, a Trustee needs to be specifically named in the will. The Trustee will then become responsible for receiving and managing this part of the inheritance on behalf of the Trust or beneficiary.
After the Executor has distributed this part of the Estate to the Trustee, they will be free to carry out their role in accordance with the terms of the Trust. This includes treating all the beneficiaries and their interests fairly, as per the duty of care under the Trustee Act 2000.
The main duties and responsibilities of this role include:
Administering the Trust, including distributing its assets to any beneficiaries, whilst complying with its terms.
Deciding when and if any beneficiaries will receive payments, according to the Trust terms.
Preparing and keeping records of any statements, documents, and tax returns – along with making tax decisions relevant to the Trust.
Ensuring assets are safe, and that all account records are secure and in order.
Communicating all relevant information, including accounts, tax reports and any concerns to the beneficiaries when required.
Investing any Trust assets effectively, so that they are preserved and productive for any beneficiaries.
Also, when a beneficiary is under the age of eighteen, a Trustee will likely be appointed to look after any inheritance until they come of age.
An Executor will also be officially named in the will. More than one person can be named as an Executor, and they will be legally responsible for administering the Estate of the deceased. They will also be fully entrusted to carry out the terms of the will.
This can be an extensive and time-consuming role, and carries a significant amount of responsibility, along with potential liability.
As well as potentially needing to apply for a Grant of Probate, which will give them legal authority, the Executor will have a number of important responsibilities and duties, including:
Issuing notifications to banks or building societies and pension providers, along with potential notices of probate and statutory notices to beneficiaries.
Valuing all of the Estate’s assets and liabilities.
Paying off any debts and expenses from Estate assets, as well as planning for any cash and liquidity needs.
Potentially preparing accounts in case Inheritance Tax is payable to HM Revenue & Customs, then arranging to pay this.
Distributing any assets to the beneficiaries in accordance with the will.
Once the beneficiaries have issued receipts confirming they’ve received any potential payments they were due from the Estate, the Executor can be discharged from their duty as administrator.
At Get Probate, we are authorised and regulated non-contentious probate practitioners – and we understand that the roles of Executor and Trustee can bring with them pressure and stress.