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What do an executor, trustee, and guardian do and what’s the difference?

Difference Between Executor and Trustee

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An executor helps manage your estate after you pass away. The job of the executor of a Will or probate is to make sure that debts are paid, bills are settled, and property is distributed according to the wishes of the estate. An executor’s job can be complicated. Your Will may name several people as co-executors of your estate. People who serve in this capacity are often called “co-executors” or “co-administrators.”

The trustee manages the property and assets that are in the estate during the probate process. While a trustee and a guardian are both appointed by the probate court, an executor is chosen by the deceased. No matter what role you would like to play in your loved one’s estate administration, it is important to understand their responsibilities before taking them on.

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The Important Role of an Estate Executor

Estate executors are responsible for administering the estate of the deceased individual. An executor is a person named in a Will to be responsible for carrying out the wishes of the deceased as outlined in their will. The estate includes all of the personal and real property owned by the deceased individual. Should you decide to agree to your appointment as an estate administrator, you will become part of the probate process.

The end goal of the executor is to distribute the assets of the estate to the beneficiaries named in the will. Estate executors have a legal duty to act in the best interest of the deceased individual and the beneficiaries who will inherit the assets of the estate.

Practically speaking, estate executors are responsible for taking the following actions on behalf of the estate:

  • Filing the probate court paperwork
  • Overseeing the probate process
  • Managing the assets of the deceased
  • Providing notice to creditors and the beneficiaries of the estate
  • Paying the bills of the estate and creditors of the estate
  • Defending the will against the validity of the will and lawsuits

If you are an executor of an estate and need immediate money to handle the estate, we do have a special executor advance program that can help.

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What do an executor, trustee, and guardian do and what's the difference? 2

Guardianship of a Child or Children

Courts will appoint a guardian of incapacitated adults and minors circumstantially when it is believed that it’s in the best interest of the individual to have a guardian look after affairs and finances. In many instances, parents nominate a guardian for their children upon their deaths in their will. When a child’s parents are mentally unfit or unable to care for a minor child, an adult may file a Petition for Guardianship. In the first circumstance, when parents pass away, the guardian steps into the probate process to make decisions on behalf of the minor. Similarly, a qualified adult may petition the court to become the guardian of an incapacitated adult. Courts have the authority to appoint guardians for adults who are incapacitated, disabled, mentally incompetent, or suffering from a disability that makes them unable to make their own decisions. 

What is a guardian?

A guardian is an individual or institution appointed by the probate court to care for a minor child or incapacitated adult. A guardian has authority over all of the property of that person named in their custody.

What are the qualifications and responsibilities of a guardian?

Guardians have a wide range of decision-making authority; thus, the courts hold guardians to very high standards. The guardian must go through a process of proving that he or she is fit to serve as the legal guardian of the child or incapacitated adult. The potential guardian must pass a criminal background check to prove that they are a responsible adult that is capable of making decisions on behalf of the individual.

What is an heir?

An heir is a person who inherits assets from an estate under the terms of a Will or intestate succession or probate.

What is a trustee?

A trustee can be a person or institution, such as a bank. A trustee has the legal obligation to use the property under their control for the benefit of the person or entity who is named in the trust agreement; this is called a trustee’s fiduciary responsibility. A trustee manages assets like stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and real estate. The trustee cannot use the assets for their own purposes.

A trustee is an individual or organization who manages assets in a trust.  In most cases, the individual is named as the trustee of their own property. The trust document names the trustee as the manager of property for someone else.

Don’t Wait for Probate

Knowing the difference between a trustee, executor and guardian are important during the probate process

An executor is a person who oversees the distribution of an estate. They are in charge of making sure that any debts or taxes owed by the deceased are paid, and divvying up their assets to beneficiaries according to what they put in a will. A trustee manages property for someone else while ensuring it meets certain conditions set out in a trust agreement. Guardianship only applies when there’s no parent or guardian available to take care of children under 18 years old with disabilities.

A Final Word For Individuals In The Probate process

The death of a loved one can be devastating, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right preparation and planning, you may not only save your family some time and money during this difficult process but also ensure that everything runs smoothly for everyone involved. If you are looking for more information on how an executor or trustee differs from a guardian or heir, these posts will help explain their different roles in detail so that you can choose who is best qualified to take care of affairs after someone dies.

Many executors, trustees, and heirs find themself in a situation during probate where the estate, heirs or beneficiaries need immediate funds. Sadly, many assets get tied up in probate court which takes time to receive distributions. An inheritance advance is an option if you are an executor of an estate that needs immediate money. You can sign over a portion of the probated estate in return for immediate cash. Call us at Inheritance Advanced and we will be happy to help you in a professional and transparent fashion.

Legal Disclaimer: Please note that Inheritance Advanced is not a lender. Inheritance advance does not provide probate loans, inheritance loans, or estate loans, rather, an advance on a portion of proceeds signed over to Inheritance Advanced. Inheritance Advanced is also not a probate attorney and any information in this article should not be misconstrued as legal advice. We recommend that you seek the advice of an attorney, CPA, and tax attorney regarding any decisions pertaining to your probate.

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Our Inheritance Cash Advances help heirs receive a portion of their inheritance payout in just a few days. We then wait and are paid directly out of your share when the estate finally closes. We wait for probate so that you don’t have to. Click below and fill out our short form to receive an advance immediately.

Probate Costs

Get Your Inheritance Money Now!

Our Inheritance Cash Advances help heirs receive a portion of their inheritance payout in just a few days. We then wait and are paid directly out of your share when the estate finally closes. We wait for probate so that you don’t have to. Click below and fill out our short form to receive an advance immediately.

Probate Costs