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Differences between a trustee and an executor in South Carolina

On Behalf of | May 11, 2022 | Probate Litigation |

When preparing your estate documents in South Carolina, you’ll have to name a trustee and an executor. These people have different roles, and you should understand them to make a sound judgment. Let’s look at how they differ below.

Differences between a trustee and an executor of an estate?

An executor is a person named in the will to carry out the deceased’s instructions, while a trustee could be an individual or institution that holds legal title to the departed’s property for the benefit of their beneficiaries. In South Carolina, you can name one person as both the executor and trustee, but you must have complete trust in them that they will carry out their duties in the best interest of the estate and your beneficiaries.

Roles of an executor

An executor in South Carolina has a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the estate and its beneficiaries. Therefore, upon your passing, they will notify your heirs and creditors (if you have some) of your death. Then they will pay all your debts, taxes, and other expenses you might have. Afterward, they will distribute your assets named in your will to your loved ones. And if there are any issues with the asset, it’s the executor’s duty to represent the estate in probate litigation.

Roles of a trustee

Trustees have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the beneficiaries. They do this by overseeing the trust and the properties in it. Their roles include:

  • Managing and investing the trust property
  • Keeping accurate records and accounting for all transactions involving trust assets
  • Complying with the state and federal laws regarding trusts
  • Making distributions from the trust according to the terms of the agreement

Naming a credible executor and trustee is one of the most important parts of estate planning. Failure to, the court will appoint an administrator to manage the estate. This person is not required by law to follow your instructions; instead, all they have to do is ensure the estate is settled according to the state laws.