After someone has died their financial matters need to be settled. The person in charge of doing this is either an administrator or an executor of the will. The two titles apply to the same tasks and responsibilities for a probate proceeding in Texas. The difference is that an executor is someone named in the will by the deceased as the person responsible. When there is no executor named, or when the chosen executor is unable or unwilling to take on the responsibility, then the court appoints an administrator.
The court-appointed administrator handles many tasks. These include compiling paperwork for the financial dealings of the deceased, discovering if there is money owed to the IRS or state and tracking down debts owed. Obligations are paid first. Then the administrator distributes assets based on the will or the state’s legal procedures.
Estate administration can take a few months or a few years. In Texas, the probate process often takes nine to 12 months.
Why would someone want to become an administrator?
There are many personal reasons someone chooses the role of an administrator. It may be that the person was close with the deceased and wants to be sure their final dealings are appropriately handled. For example, a spouse may be an administrator.
Another example may be a debtor of the deceased’s. If someone is personally owed money, they have a motivating interest in doing the work. This allows them to find out what assets are available. If the deceased doesn’t have liquid assets to repay a debt, the administrator may find a saleable property or another asset to suffice.
There are also professional administrators many will hire for the job. This removes the burden of the estate administration work from people more personally involved.
The court will compensate professional or unprofessional administrators. The amount paid varies based on a state’s laws and the amount in the estate. An administrator will need to submit a detailed report of the time they spent and expenses they paid in order to receive compensation.
The role of an administrator is not for everyone. It is an important part of the probate process and one that requires working closely with an attorney to make sure it’s handled well.