What’s the difference between an administrator, a personal representative, and an executor?

All of these titles essentially refer to a person appointed by the court to administer the deceased’s estate.

Executor (or executrix if female) is the traditional term for the person named in a will (and subsequently appointed by the probate court) to oversee the estate of a person who has died with a will.  Some states have now adopted statutes that replace the term “executor” with “personal representative” so the terms are often used interchangeably.

An administrator or administratrix is the person appointed by the probate court to administer the estate of a person who has died without a will (intestate).

Read Our Guide, Understanding Estate Administration to Learn More

As explained in our guide, Understanding Estate Administration, the appointment of the executor, administrator, or personal representative is addressed during the Legal Authority phase of an estate administration. Request your copy to learn more about the estate administration process in North Carolina. 

If you are personally involved in a North Carolina probate or estate administration, or if you want to make sure your own estate is protected, please call us at (919)443-3035 or contact us online. We will help you identify the next steps to take, and we'll connect you with resources that can help.

Jennifer Mercer
Paralegal, Probate and Estate Administration Team Lead