Executors and Administrators

Executors and Administrators

Executors and Administrators are both responsible for administering the Estate of the deceased and are collectively known as Personal Representatives. But what are the differences between the two?


Executors are chosen by the deceased and appointed in the Will itself. In most cases, the executors of an estate are close friends, relatives or third parties such as solicitors. If there is an unusual or complicated aspect of the will (such as a business to manage), special executors can be appointed, such as someone with specialist knowledge.
The executors take their authority from the Will, which comes into effect immediately after the death of the person who made the will. In theory, the Executor(s) can exercise their powers from the date of death – they can sue and be sued, deal with the deceased’s property, etc. – but they will almost always need to apply for a Grant of Probate before doing so.


Administrators are appointed to deal with the Estates of people who either have no valid will (meaning they are intestate) or no appointed Executor that is alive and willing. In these cases, the Court will appoint an administrator to deal with the Estate.
If there is no Will, the Probate Registry will issue a Grant of Letters of Administration to one or more of the people entitled to benefit under the Rules of Intestacy. If there is more than one person entitled to benefit, up to four can apply for a Grant of Letters of Administration, provided they are legal adults and able to act as Administrators.
If there is a valid Will but no able and willing Executor appointed, an Administrator will be granted Letters of Administration (with Will Annexed). The Administrator will be someone with an interest in the Estate – either a beneficiary or creditor – and has no authority until Letters of Administration have been granted.

In short, both Executors and Administrators are appointed to manage the Estate of the deceased but are appointed in very different ways.

For more advice and guidance on probate law, such as your rights and responsibilities as an Executor/Administrator, contact a member of our Will and Probate team directly on 0115 824 1700 today.