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Trustee vs. Executor: What are the key the Differences?

Trustee vs Executor What are the key the Differences Featured Image

The words trustee and estate executor may sound similar but are different concepts. Let’s know the key differences between these two terms and how they are different in terms of their duties.

What is a Trustee?

A trustee is a person who runs and administrates a trust agreement. Trust is a legal document that is formulated to ensure beneficiaries’ benefits.

Generally, this legal document has a future effect. Every Trust document has a duration of execution. After the end of the period, the paper will be ineffective.

Duties of a Trustee:

  • A trustee manages the trust property until the end of the trust period.
  • A trustee works as an executor of the trust agreement.

What is an Executor?

An executor works as a third party on behalf of the deceased person’s estate distribution, such as wills to the ancestors. According to the terms on the will document, the executor ensures the property distribution.

Here an executor works as a responsible third party of the main personnel (owner). After the will maker’s death, the executor holds the property until ancestors become eligible.

Duties of an Executor

  • Appears in court on behalf of the estates and minor beneficiaries.
  • Maintains property bank accounts of the estate owner.
  • Distributions of property according to the benefits of will.
  • Works as a front face of estate and minor beneficiaries.

What are the Key Differences Between Trustee vs. Executor?

Having a clear understanding of these two legal terms is important for both the legal and the public sector.

The key differences between trustee and executer are as follows.

Section Trustee Executor
Definition A trustee is a person who administrates a trust agreement. An executor maintains a deceased person’s property and distributes it according to the will.
Agreement A trust agreement is usually known as a trust deed. An executory document is well-known as a will deed.
Duty Manage the trust property until the end of the trust agreement. Maintain the estate until the distribution.
Legal status The court of law has no binding force of trust agreement. The executory will deed has binding force on each beneficiary, including the executor.
Benefits A trustee gets nothing as salary benefits for the execution of the trust. The executor of the willing deed gets the benefits of doing the duty.
Duration Trust deed is effective until the end of mentioned duration. After the distribution of property, the duration of the willing deed becomes over.
Effects Trust deed has present and future effects. Executory will deed has no after and future effects once the distribution is done.

Trustee vs. Executor vs. Personal Representative – Explained

After knowing the differences between these two concepts, you might want to know about the term personal representatives. Although all three ideas contain a similar role, they have identical differences.

Let’s see the actual difference between executor vs trustee and personal representatives.

Work Field Difference

A personal representative works in the absence of the main party. In contrast, a trustee plays a leading role in a trust agreement. On the other hand, the executor performs the main role of the will agreement after the death of the main party.

Effectiveness Difference

Personal representatives are also known as legal representatives. They can enter any agreements in the absence of the main person. In contrast, a trustee only has the authority of trust administration.

On the other hand, an executor works until the distribution of the estate happens based on the will. They work to fulfill the legal obligation only. Due to being a non-biennial party, an executor only works to maintain and transfer the alleged properly.

Similarities Between Trustee and Executor

All these three roles are performed in the absence of the main party. Thereby, this very performing method shows similar ultimate functions.

Generally, the trustee’s and executer’s roles are the same kind. Sometimes they also play alternative roles for completing family matters will and trust agreement is frequently used. The same person can hold both roles of trustee and executor.

Therefore, one qualified person is hired to handle the same family matters. Both these agreements are properly manageable by a qualified single person. But maintaining trust agreements and will deeds requires honesty.

How to Choose Proper Executor or Trustee

To choose a proper executor or trustee, appoint anyone as one person can handle two things at a time. Will and trust deeds come with after effect. Therefore, look to get an honest person. Only a trustworthy person can make the appropriate use of an act.

Another thing you should consider before appointing a trustee or an executor is age. You already know a deed needs a long period to reach the ultimate execution period. Therefore, make a relatively young and competent person an executor.

You can contact any law firm or lawyer to get more advice regarding the matter.


The role between a trusty and executor has many differences. On a practical note, the estate executor manages deceased property to distribute assets according to the will.

On the other hand, the trustee only does the administrative part of a trust agreement. Hence, the concepts of trusty and executor are completely different, even though both have similar working processes.


Here are some most relevant questions and answers on this topic.

What is the main responsibility of a personal representative?

Generally, a personal representative works on the legal report and signs documents, including legal and general, in the owner’s absence. Mainly personal representative works on behalf of the owner.

Is there any difference between trustee vs. executor vs. personal representative?

Yes, the trustee, executor, and personal representative are different. A personal representative works in the absence of the main party. In contrast, a trustee plays a leading role in a trust agreement. On the other hand, the executor performs the main role of the will agreement after the death of the main party.

What is a trust will?

A trust will be an agreement deed that comes into effect after the property owner’s death. During that particular time, the trustee works as the administrator of the trust will.