Trustee v Executor

Trusts and Estates

When making your Will, it is likely you have appointed one or more people an Executor and Trustee; they may be friends, family members or perhaps a trusted professional. They do not however, need to be the same person.

An Executor is the person whom you appoint in your Will to administer your estate and carry into effect the provisions of your Will. They will be responsible for gathering in your assets, meeting liabilities and distributing the assets. This is largely governed by the Administration Act 1969.

A number of Wills, however, do not provide for all assets to be distributed immediately. Examples include providing for young children to inherit when they reach a fixed age, or providing life interests to a partner. It is in these situations that the party holds the assets as a Trustee, and is governed by the Trustee Act 1956.

The role of Executor is often completed over a short duration, whereas a Trustee may have ongoing responsibilities for many years to come. When choosing your Executors and Trustees, consider the roles and whether in your case, a separate Trustee should be appointed for the ongoing responsibilities after the initial administration.

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