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Hi, this is Keith Davidson from Albertson & Davidson.  In this video, I want to discuss the difference between a trustee and executor?  What’s the difference between those two different titles?  And both trustees and executors are fiduciaries.  And a fiduciary is somebody who’s put in charge of somebody else’s money.  And the trustee is a fiduciary over the trust and an executor is a fiduciary over a probate estate.  A trustee is named as the manager of the trust in the trust document.  Whereas an executor is named as the manager of the probate estate in a will.  If somebody dies without a will, then the person who’s appointed is called an administrator.  But it’s really the same thing.  They’re the person who’s managing the probate estate.

Now in a trust estate, that’s created typically during somebody’s lifetime, which is why it’s called the living trust, or in legal jargon, we call them inter vivos trust.  And whoever creates that trust is going to name the successor trustee who’s going to take over and manage those assets, make sure that everything’s handled properly, and ultimately distribute those assets out to the trust beneficiaries

With an executor, they’re named in a will.  And so after somebody dies, the executor has to go to the probate court and admit that will into the probate system, into probate process, which is really just a court process where the court oversees the management of the state.  And ultimately, the court oversees the distribution of that estate out to the beneficiaries of the will.

And so in many ways, an executor and a trustee serve the same function, they both manage and ultimately distribute the estates that they’re in charge of.  The only difference is that a trustee acts under a trust and can start acting once the prior trustee passes away or stops acting for any reason.  You don’t have to go to court for a successor trustee to act.  Whereas, for an executor, the only way that an executor can start acting is after you go to court and get the court permission to appoint the executor in that position