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The Difference Between Administrator and Executor of an Estate in Louisiana

We get calls daily asking about the difference between Administrator and Executor, as well as Letters of Administration and Letters of Executorship and how to get them. If you’ve found this article then you’ve probably been researching this yourself.

While the two titles and documents have different names, they’re very similar and used to accomplish the same goal. The main difference is one is done with a succession where there was a valid Last Will and Testament (Testate) and the other is used when there was no will present (Intestate).

When someone dies with a will, they usually name a person to act as their Executor and handle their succession for them. This “Executor” will have the authority and ability to do things such as hire the attorney for the succession and handle other aspects of the estate. The executor does not have any power until the will has been probated and the judge signs the required paperwork giving them authority by way of the “Letters of Executorship.”

On the other hand, the Administrator of the Estate comes into play when an individual dies without a will, but the heirs have agreed to have one person handle the estate. This is usually the person that hires the attorney and provides them with the documentation needed to file the succession. Your attorney will draft documents to have you named as the administrator and all heirs must agree. The judge will sign the documents prepared by your attorney and will mail the “Letters of Administration.”

While there are a few differences in how the documents are named and obtained, they both give an individual the authority to handle some aspects of the estate.

How Do You Become Named Executor or Administrator of an Estate?

Let’s start with the Executor of the Estate first. The will designates who is to be named the executor. The person named must be willing and able to serve as the executor of the estate. This individual will contact an attorney to begin the process for the succession.

You can’t just get the Letters of Executorship, you have to file the entire succession. This process takes time and cannot be done overnight. Once your attorney completes the documents and all required parties have signed, it then goes to the Clerk of Court for filing. The judge will then sign the required documentation to have the Letters of Executorship sent to your attorney for processing.

The Administrator of the Estate is a person who was chosen or stepped forward when there was no will or the succession was said to be “Intestate.” The heirs must agree or the court will appoint an administrator to handle the estate. We prepare the documents needed to have you named the administrator and open the succession. The judge will review the case and sign paperwork that will allow you to receive the Letters of Administration.

How Long Does it Take to Get Named Executor or Administrator of an Estate? 

A succession will have to be opened in order to get the document needed. This means we will have to gather information, draft documents and have the heirs sign verifications. Next, we will file the succession paperwork and wait for the judge to review the case.

The entire process can take a matter of weeks or even months in some cases. The time frame depends on how quickly we receive the information we need to complete the process. You can help our firm move the case faster by having the information ready and responding to our information requests in a timely manner.

How Much Does It Cost to Be Named Executor or Administrator of an Estate?

The cost associated with becoming an executor or administrator depends on the facts of the case. You will have to go through the entire succession process as there is no way to just get the Letters of Administration or Letters of Executorship without filing the required petition.

The Andries Law Firm offers flat-rate pricing for succession so you will know upfront exactly how much you will have to pay to have the succession completed.

Can I Use the Small Succession Affidavit to be Named Executor or Administrator? 

The Small Estate Affidavit is not available if you need to be named executor or administrator of an estate. You must have the judge sign documents placing you in the position of administrator or executor depending on the circumstances of the case.

How Do I Get Started? 

You can send us a quick message here and we will get back to you as soon as possible. You can also send us an email to detailing your situation and we will provide you with a quote.

Attorney R. Jerome Andries

Louisiana Succession Attorney

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