Pennsylvania Probate Lawyer Explains Difference Between an Executor and a Trustee 

Many often confuse the titles and responsibilities when choosing an executor and a trustee. Although both are charged with many of the same tasks, the circumstances are quite different.

An executor is named by a Testator’s will and/or appointed by the courts to manage and settle the estate. The executor acts as the estate’s “personal representative” and manages the:

  • gathering of assets; 
  • settling of debt liabilities; and 
  • dispersal of remaining assets to legally designated heirs in accordance with the will and/or local probate law and intestate statutes.

A trustee, on the other hand, is charged with managing the assets held in a trust, as opposed to an estate. If the trust is a living trust, and was created while the Testator was still alive, probate can be avoided for assets contained within it and court supervision is unnecessary, in which case, the trustee may perform some tasks that the executor would otherwise handle.

If the trust is created by the will, it’s known as a testamentary trust and is subject to probate. In both cases, the trustee is responsible for managing the assets of the trust in accordance with the terms established therein.

Consulting a Pennsylvania Probate Lawyer

Who you choose as an executor or trustee will be responsible for executing the final arrangements of either your estate or your trust upon your death, so it’s vital that you make the decision only after some consideration. Seek counsel from a Pennsylvania probate lawyer at the law firm of Unruh, Turner, Burke & Frees to learn more about what a lawyer can do for you – 1-610-933-8069.


David M. Frees, III
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