What is an Administrator of an Estate?

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  • Written By: Lainie Petersen
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 08 March 2020
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An administrator of an estate is the person responsible for settling the affairs of someone who died without a will. His duties will vary according to the deceased's financial circumstances. He will typically be responsible for ensuring that all creditors are paid from the proceeds of the estate, searching for and contacting heirs, and making sure that those errors complete the necessary paperwork for receiving any inheritance to which they may be entitled. The duties of the administrator of an estate are generally the same as those of an executor. The term executor is typically used to describe someone who is appointed to that role by the deceased in the deceased's will. An administrator of an estate, on the other hand, is appointed by the court in cases where someone dies intestate.


Someone may become an administrator of an estate if a friend or family member dies without a will. The person may have to ask a probate court for permission to serve as estate administrator, and an appointment or application for appointment may be challenged by others who have a relationship to the deceased. The court will decide on the administrator of an estate, taking into consideration the relationship of the administrator to the deceased as well as evidence of the administrator's ability to carry out the duties required of him. As the estate administrator has access to the financial accounts of the deceased, local law may require that the administrator put up a bond that guarantees the integrity of the estate. The administrator of an estate usually must complete extensive documentation of his activities, proving to the court, heirs, and any creditors that he is performing his duties properly and in accordance with the law.

The process for settling an estate will vary by local law, but typically involves, at least in its initial stages, the hiring of an attorney and other professionals, such as an accountant or financial advisor who can advise the administrator on both the law and ways of maximizing the value of the estate. The administrator must then begin a search for assets, debts, and heirs. Once the deceased's assets are located, the administrator can then liquidate assets in order to compensate creditors. After all obligations are paid, including court fees, compensation for any consulting professionals, and the administrator's own fees and costs, the administrator can begin to distribute assets to the deceased's heirs in accordance with the law.


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