What is the difference between executor and successor trustee?


A living trust is for the purpose of avoiding probate.  The trust names a successor trustee that, upon the grantor's death, will be responsible to settle the trust estate.  If the trust is done properly so that no probate is required, then there will not be an executor or personal representative appointed.  If probate is required, then the executor's job would be limited to turning over the probate assets to the successor trustee.


Sam: Taking something from the previous conversation. My dad has a revocable trust. He's assigned me as the trustee and one of my sisters as the executor. What is the difference between those two roles? And how to they work together with the trust?

Attorney Tom Olsen: People have a living trust for the purpose of avoiding probate. If all the necessary steps are taken so that the trust is successful and avoiding probate. The executor is who would be appointed if a probate was done. If no probate is done then no executor will be appointed. Sam, what that would mean is that if no probate is the only work that 's being done would be by you the successor trustee of the trust.

If there was a probate done, lets just say your dad had a $10,000 cd. For some reason he forgot to put it into his trust. That $10,000 goes through probate. Your sister would be the executor. She would probate that $10,000. Turn it over to you as the successor trustee. Then you're in charge of it. So the bottom line Sam, what I'm telling you is that the successor trustee is going to have a big job. The executor personal representative will have either a small job or no job to do.

Sam: Thank you. That makes it much more clear than what I've read online . So I appreciate that.