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What Is a Administrator? Definition, Uses and Importance.

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A probate administrator is not to be confused with a regular administrator like that of a hospital or a school. A probate administrator is a person or institution appointed by the court (in the absence of a will otherwise naming an executor) to distribute the assets according to state intestacy laws and to pay creditors and taxes and make sure that the estate is in good standing as it passes through the probate process.

Who can be a Probate Administrator?

If there is no Will then the following descending order of priority of persons to whom the court may grant letters of administration on intestacy applies:

  • the deceased’s surviving spouse;
  • the deceased’s children;
  • the deceased’s grandchildren or great-grandchildren;
  • the deceased’s parent or parents;
  • the deceased’s brothers and sisters;
  • the children of deceased brothers and sisters of the deceased;
  • the deceased’s grandparent or grandparents;
  • the deceased’s uncles and aunts;
  • the deceased’s first cousins; and
  • The court has the power to appoint anyone that is not a minor and has capacity to manage the estate during the probate process.

Probate Administrator Duties

The Administrator’s duties are similar to those of an executor since they are the same thing but referred to by different naming conventions based on the laws of the individual state. Typically the role of the administrator is to oversee the following steps in probate:

  • organize the funeral and attending to payment;
  • make an inventory of the deceased’s assets;
  • applying to have the probate formally administrated
  • locating and notifying the beneficiaries of the estate regarding their entitlements;
  • paying any debts and liabilities of the estate, owing prior to death;
  • defending the Will of the deceased if litigation is started against the deceased’s estate;
  • attending to tax returns for the deceased and their estate;
  • distributing the estate in accordance with the deceased’s Will.

Different Names For Administrator

Based on the state that probate takes place an administrator can be referred to as an executor or personal representative. For instance, in Florida, the term personal representative is used.

The job of the administrator, executor, or personal representative is easier in states that have adopted the uniform probate code, otherwise referred to as UPC.

States That Use the Entire Uniform Probate Code













New Jersey

New Mexico

North Dakota

South Carolina

South Dakota


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