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HMRC internal manual

Trusts, Settlements and Estates Manual

Legal background to trusts & estates: the difference between administrators and trustees

The administrator has the duty of standing in the place of the deceased in order to wind-up his estate and distribute it in accordance with the law of intestacy. While their basic function is to distribute assets, the fiduciary character of their office resembles that of the trustee, but their powers are somewhat wider and the class to which their responsibilities extend is also wider (e.g. it includes creditors of the deceased, as well as beneficiaries of the estate). They gather in the deceased person’s estate in their hands. Then they pay the deceased’s debts and satisfy the claims against the estate, and distribute the estate assets to the beneficiaries under the rules of intestacy, as soon as possible.