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A person appointed by the court to manage and take charge of the assets and liabilities of a decedent who has died without making a valid will.
When such a person is a male, he is called an administrator, while a woman is called an administratrix. An administrator c.t.a. (cum testamento annexo, Latin for "with the will annexed") is appointed by the court where the testator had made an incomplete will without naming any executors or had named incapable persons, or where the executors named refuse to act. A public administrator is a public official designated by state law to perform the duties of administration for persons who have died intestate.
An executor differs from an administrator in that he or she is named in the decedent's will to manage the estate. If an executor dies while performing these duties, a court will appoint an administrator de bonis non cum testamento annexo (Latin for "of the goods not (already) administered upon with the will annexed") to complete the distribution of the decedent's estate. This term is often abbreviated: administrator d.b.n.c.t.a.
n. the person appointed by the court to handle the estate of someone who died without a will, with a will with no nominated executor, or the executor named in the will has died, has been removed from the case, or does not desire to serve. If there is a will but no available executor, the administrator is called an "administrator with will annexed." The procedure is that if an estate must be probated (filed and approved by a court) then someone (usually a relative or close friend) petitions the court in the appropriate county (usually where the late lamented last lived) for appointment of a particular person as administrator. If an estate requires attention and no one has come forward to administer the estate, then the county Public Administrator may do so. In most cases state law requires that the administrator post a bond ordered by the court to protect the estate from mishandling or malfeasance. If the will includes is real property in another state then the administrator or executor must find someone in the other state to handle the change of title and paying of local taxes, and that person is called an "ancillary administrator." (See: administer, probate, executor)
ADMINISTRATOR, trusts. An administrator is a person lawfully appointed,
with his assent, by an officer having jurisdiction, to manage and settle the
estate of a deceased person who has left no executor, or one who is for the
time incompetent or unable to act.
2. It will be proper to consider, first, his rights; secondly, his duties.; thirdly, the number of administrators, and their joint and several powers; fourthly, the several kinds of administrators.
3.-1. By the grant of the letters, of administration, the administrator is vested with full and ample power, unless restrained to some special administration, to take possession of all the personal estate of the deceased and to sell it; to collect the debts due to him; and to represent him in all matters which relate to his chattels real or personal. He is authorized to pay the debts of the, intestate in the order dire ted by law; and, in the United States, he is generally entitled to a just compensation, which is allowed him as commissions on the amount which passes through his hands.
4.-2. He is bound to use due diligence in the management of the estate; and he is generally on his appointment required to give security that he will do so; he is responsible for any waste which. may happen for his default. See Devastavit.
5. Administrators are authorized to bring and defend actions. They sue and are sued in their own names; as, A B, administrator of C D, v. E F; or E F v. A B, administrator of C D.
6.-3. As to the number of administrators. There may be one or more. When there are several they must, in general, act together in bringing suits, and they must all be sued ; but, like executors, the acts of each, which relate to the delivery, gift, sale, payment, possession. or release of the intestate's goods, are considered as of equal validity as the acts of all, for they have a joint power and authority over the whole. Bac. Ab. Executor, C 4; 11 Vin. Ab. 358; Com. Dig. Administration, B 12; 1 Dane's Ab. 383; 2 Litt. R. 315. On the death of one of several joint administrators, the whole authority is vested in the survivors.
7.-4. Administrators are general, or those who have right to administer the whole estate of the intestate; or special, that is, those who administer it in part, or for a limited time.
8.-1. General administrators are of two kinds, namely: first, when the grant of administration is unlimited, and the administrator is required to administer the whole estate, under the intestate laws, secondly, when the grant is made with the annexation of the will, which is the guide to the administrator to administer and distribute the estate. This latter administration is granted when the deceased has made a will, and either he has not appointed an executor, or having appointed one he refuses to serve, or dies, or is incompetent to act; this last kind is called an administrator cum testamento annexo. 1 Will. on Wills, 309.
9.-2. Special administrators are of two kinds; first, when the administration is limited to part of the estate, as for example, when the former administrator has died, leaving a part of the estate unadministered, an administrator is appointed to administer the remainder, and he is called an administrator de bonis non. He has all the powers of a common administrator. Bac. Ab. Executors, B 1; Sw. 396; Roll. Ab. 907; 6 Sm. & Marsh. 323. When an executor dies leaving a part of the estate unadministered, the administrator appointed to complete the execution of the win is called an administrator de bonis non, cum testamento annexo. Com. Dig. Administrator, B 1. Secondly, When the authority of the administrator is limited as to time. Administrators of this kind are, 1. An administrator durante minore oetate. This administrator is appointed to act as such during the minority of an infant executor, until the latter shall, attain his lawful age to act. Godolph. 102; 5 Co. 29. His powers extend to administer the estate so far as to collect the same, sell a sufficiency of the personal property to pay the debts, sell bona peritura, and perform such other acts as require immediate attention. He may sue and be sued. Bac. Ab. Executor, B 1 ; Roll. Ab. 110; Cro. Eliz. 718. The powers of such an administrator cease, as soon as the infant executor attains the age at which the law authorizes him to act for himself, which, at common law, is seventeen years, but by statutory provision in several states twenty-one years.
10.-2. An administrator durante absentia, is one who is appointed to administer the estate during the absence of the executor, before he has proved the will. The powers of this administrator continue until the return of the executor, and. then his powers cease upon the probate of the will by the executor. 4 Hagg. 860. In England it has been holden, that the death of the executor abroad does not determine the authority of the administrator durante absentia. 3 Bos. & Pull. 26.
11.-3. An administrator pendente lite. Administration pendente lite may be granted pending the controversy respecting an alleged will and it has been granted pending a contest as to, the right to administration. 2 P. Wms. 589; 2 Atk. 286; 2 Cas. temp. Lee, 258. The administrator pendente lite is merely an officer of the court, and holds the property only till the suit terminates. 1 Hagg. 313. He may maintain suits, 1 Ves. sen. 325; 2 Ves. & B. 97; 1 Ball & B. 192; though his power does not extend to the distribution of the assets. 1 Ball & B. 192.