FAQs About Probate

Is There a Difference Between an Executor and an Administrator of an Estate?

by Rania Combs

When a person dies and probate is necessary, a court will appoint a personal representative to oversee the winding up of the decedent’s affairs. Executors and administrators are both classified as “personal representatives” of the estate.

The duties of the personal representative are to:

  1. inventory and collect the decedent’s assets;
  2. manage the assets during administration;
  3. receive and pay the claims of creditors and tax collectors; and
  4. distribute the remaining assets to the decedent’s beneficiaries.

Understanding the Difference Between Personal Representative and Executor

Whether a person charged with this responsibility is called an executor or administrator depends on whether he or she has been named in a will.

If a person dies leaving a valid will, and the will names a person who is to execute the will and administer the estate, this person is called an executor. Executors who are named in a will are tasked with executing the deceased’s wishes, managing assets, and distributing them in the manner outlined by the Will. 

However, when the person in charge of administering the estate is not named in a will, that person charged with the responsibility to administer the decedent’s estate is called an administrator.  Administrators are appointed by the probate court to manage and distribute the estate of a deceased person who did not leave a will (intestate) according to the Texas intestacy statutes.

Understanding the Roles of Personal Representative and Executor with Rania Combs Law

Administrators and executors in Texas share many similarities in their roles, responsibilities, and the legal processes they navigate. Both are integral to ensuring that an estate is managed, debts are paid, and assets are distributed appropriately. Whether appointed by a will or by the court, both administrators and executors must act with diligence, integrity, and in accordance with the law to fulfill their duties effectively.

Confused about the roles of personal representative and executor? Let us clarify. At Rania Combs Law, we guide you through these distinctions with clarity. Trust our team to navigate probate intricacies and ensure your wishes are honored. Contact us today.

This article was originally written on January 8, 2010 and updated on June 3, 2024.

About Rania

Rania graduated magna cum laude from South Texas College of Law Houston and is the founder of Rania Combs Law, PLLC. She has been licensed to practice law since 1994 and enjoys helping clients in Texas and North Carolina create estate plans that give them peace of mind.

Learn more about how we can help you.

Get Started

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Parks Wilson

    August 25, 2019 at 9:21am

    Is probate always necessary?

    1. Rania Combs

      August 26, 2019 at 10:26am

      The following article will answer your question: Is Probate Always Necessary?