The difference between an administrator and executor of an estate is an important distinction to be aware of, from the perspective of the person appointed to look after the estate, and if you’re drafting your own Last Will and Testament.
If someone dies without having written a will (intestate) or if a will was written but is lost, someone – usually a close relative – will apply for the right to administrate the estate to the Probate Registry. They must seek a ‘grant of letters of administration’ before they can proceed with probate.
An executor is someone specifically named in a will. When their role comes into play, they are given rights of management over the estate but must apply through their local probate registry for a ‘grant of probate’.
There are similarities within the role – both are responsible for identifying, gathering and obtaining the value of assets belonging to the deceased, and those that are including in his or her estate. They are both, also, responsible for filing any tax returns, paying any outstanding debts and distributing assets to the beneficiaries. Writing a will means that you are able to choose who will look after you estate following your death. You don’t need to tell someone that you have named them as an executor but it is advisable to so in case it is not a role they would be willing to take on.