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Being and Administrator and Executor
In UK executry law, you will most likely encounter two very common terms and these would be: administrator and executor. While the two perform very similar and sometimes overlapping functions, it is important to keep in mind that there are differences between being an administrator and an executor. Now one thing that you need to understand is that the difference between being an administrator and an executor is not that hard to grasp, but you need to have knowledge of their manner of appointment and their respective duties and responsibilities in order to draw the proverbial line between them.
Since the subject is on UK executry law, one concept that must be understood before we move on to the actual differentiation between being an administrator and an executor is that of the estate. An estate in executry law always refers to the properties and assets left behind by a deceased individual. This is because the debts and obligations of the individual are not automatically extinguished by death, but they must be paid off in so far as his/her estate allows. Fortunately, a debt cannot be inherited by the heirs of the deceased as this would be contrary to public policy.
In any case, both the administrator and the executor are types of personal representatives tasked with the disposition of the estate of the deceased.
Nominated By Will – Executor
The chief difference between being an administrator and an executor is in the way you are appointed into the position. An executor is generally nominated by the deceased directly through a will. Several executors may also be appointed separately in the will to deal with different aspects of the estate of the deceased. This is especially true if there are special properties included in the estate which need to be disposed of in a specific manner.
Because of the fact that the executor’s authority comes directly from the will, the authority may later be assailed if the will becomes invalidated, but the authority of the executor takes effect immediately upon the death of the testator.
Being an administrator and an executor In The Absence of An Executor – The Administrator
Thus, being the antithesis of the executor, the administrator is the person who is appointed by the court to execute the same duties and responsibilities expected of the executor – which is to dispose of the estate of the deceased according to will and/or law. The administrator may only be appointed if there is no executor specified in the will, there is no will (intestate), or if the executor is absent, dead or otherwise legally incapacitated to fulfill his/her duties.
In the specific case of intestacy or the lack of a will, the probate registry will issue a “grant of letters of administration” to one or more of the people who are qualified to benefit from the estate. If multiple people are qualified and they cannot decide on who should be issued the grant of letters of administration, then the court will follow a first-come, first-served policy. Furthermore, at least two administrators are necessary if the deceased has any minor beneficiaries.
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