Five Key Players During a Trust or Estate Administration

Are you gearing up to implement the estate plan of your recently deceased loved one? If so, it is important to have a clear understanding of the parties that you will be working with. The following is an overview of the key players to keep in mind as you start the estate administration process.

Identifying the Key Players in a Trust Administration

Surviving Spouse

The role of the surviving spouse is especially important because a spouse has certain rights granted under the law. If a spouse was provided for under the terms of the will, the spouse can make a choice: he or she can either choose to take the inheritance received under the will, or instead opt to take the statutory share provided for under the law.

Anyone Omitted From the Will or Trust

Even if these people are omitted from a will, they might have rights to inherit some assets of the estate under the law. This is the case for situations where heirs were omitted unintentionally. If the omission was intentional, however, the decedent’s wishes will be carried out accordingly.

Devisees and Legatees Under the Will

These are the people named in the will to receive personal property or real estate of the decedent.


The heirs-at-law are the people who would receive the assets of the decedent’s estate if he or she died without a will. Even if you are implementing an estate plan that contains a will, these names will be important because the heirs-at-law may have to be listed on any court filings. They also may be entitled to receive notice of certain actions taken during the implementation of an estate plan.

Other Interested Parties

Interested parties consist of any other parties who have an interest in the state, such as a charity who is slated to receive a distribution under the will or the trust, or a creditor of the decedent or the estate. Interested parties are important because they have certain rights during the estate administration process, and must be provided with notice before some actions are taken.

Now that you know who the key players are, you are ready to move forward with implementing the estate plan. We encourage you to sign up for our free newsletter today. Our newsletter offers helpful information about administering estates in California.


James F. Roberts
Founder and owner of the Law Office of James F. Roberts and Associates, a premiere estate planning law firm