Administratrix Of Estate OR Administrator Of Estate

Definition of "Administratrix of Estate OR Administrator of estate"

Scott Dollinger real estate agent

Written by

Scott Dollingerelite badge icon

Keller Williams Realty

Administrator of estate is a term used in common-law jurisdiction for a person assigned a particular responsibility. The administrator of estate definition describes a court-appointed individual assigned to manage an intestate’s estate, meaning the estate of a person who died without a will. 

The powers and duties of an administrator of estate are similar to those of an executor but differ in how they perform their tasks. While the executor has a Will to follow and respect managing the estate, an administrator doesn’t have one, but only the procedure set by law. The female version of the term is administratrix; however, it is rarely used as it is considered outdated.

What is an Administrator of Estate?

When someone dies but does not leave behind a valid Will, an administrator of estate is necessary. The deceased person who didn’t leave a will is referred to as a person that died intestate. The following situations require an administrator of estate and underline the importance of making a will

  • If a person dies without leaving a will behind;
  • If the deceased owned assets that have not been mentioned in a will:
  • If there is an invalid will.

When a person dies in any of the situations above, an administrator of estate is assigned to their estate by the court. They are responsible for what happens to that estate, and they have to make sure that all the deceased’s affairs are set in order. 

The responsibility of an estate administrator is to administer the estate. This includes settling debts, covering the funeral expenses, and allocating the remainder of the estate by following the common law and the intestacy rules.

What does an Administrator of Estate do?

As mentioned above, the responsibilities of an administrator of estate are similar to those of an executor. An administrator must perform the following duties:

  • Obtaining a tax identification number to gather documents and files of the deceased from the IRS (insurance claims, financial statements, bank account records, etc.);
  • If the deceased person owned a business, the business’s assets must be evaluated before the liquidation. The administrator of the estate will cover possible liabilities from the value gained and close the business. 
  • Determining any existing tax obligations of the deceased and settling them;
  • Prepare the administrator’s deed;
  • Distributing any remaining assets to beneficiaries of the deceased.

How is an Administrator of Estate Appointed?

Before they appoint an administrator of estate, the Probate Court forwards Letters of Administration to potential administrators of estate following the Probate Code. How these letters are sent is based on the interest that each individual has in the estate. 

This individual can also be a family member who applies with evidence that anyone else related to the deceased agreed to their application or have been informed by it. Usually, the court’s administrator is the next of kin, but their interest in the estate plays an important role. Based on this, if an interest has been relinquished, the right to administer the estate is also lost.

The order in which an administrator of estate is appointed is the following:

  • Spouse - unless there is a divorce action pending;
  • Descendants - children, parents, siblings, children of a sibling, in that order;
  • Main creditor - creditor of the deceased at the time of death;
  • Others.

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