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Is a Special Administrator the Same as an Executor?

In estate administration, an administrator will have the same duties as an executor. Why do they have different names? The difference lies in the way the person is assigned.

  • A special administrator is a person chosen by the probate courts to perform the duties of estate management and distribution of assets after a person passes away. This may be done if the deceased person did not make a will or if they did not specifically name a person to handle these duties.
  • An executor is someone who is specifically named in a will to handle the same types of duties.

This person has important responsibilities that include tying up loose ends after a person passes away. Most people have material possessions (home, car, furniture, clothing, jewelry, etc.) as well as bank accounts and savings that must go somewhere. If there is a will, these items may be left to specifically-named individuals or organizations. The administrator or executor will be responsible for distributing those items according to the wishes of the deceased as prescribed in the deceased’s will.

When you pass away, there is no automatic halt to monthly bills and other debts. Someone has to be responsible for paying the mortgage/rent, electric bills, car payments, etc. Again, this is where the administrator or executor steps in. They are not responsible for funding these debts from their own pockets; typically, the money is taken from the estate to pay all outstanding bills. An estate checking account is usually opened with the deceased’s money and debts and bills are paid from the estate checking account.

What about maintenance? If there is property and no one is living in the home, the administrator or executor is responsible for ensuring the yard gets mowed, the mail is collected from the mailbox, etc., until the home is sold or transferred to someone else.

Notifications are another important job for the administrator or executor. Beneficiaries need to be informed of the person’s passing, Social Security must be informed, creditors may start asking questions, etc.

There are additional jobs surrounding paying taxes, selling property (if necessary) and distributing assets to beneficiaries – not to mention moving the estate through the probate process. It’s okay to ask for help! If you are named as an administrator or executor and feel completely overwhelmed by this responsibility, the Denver estate lawyers at Brown & Crona, LLC can help you understand your role and help get the paperwork and legalities underway. In some cases, the estate can pay for attorney fees. Hiring experienced professionals to navigate this complicated process is often well worth the investment: it will save time, reduce frustrations and can even end up saving money in the long run.

Contact The Brown Law Firm, LLC at (303) 339-3750 or send us a message online to learn more about how we can help.