An estate executor is someone who’s granted the legal authority to settle a deceased’s estate according to their will. An executor is usually also appointed in the deceased’s will, meaning that they will have hopefully had time to discuss the estate holder’s wishes and plans with them before the time to settle their estate comes.
Their responsibilities include submitting the will and applying for probate with the probate court, creating an inventory of the estate’s assets, taking care of debts and taxes, and distributing what remains of the estate to beneficiaries.
An estate trustee does basically the same job as an estate executor, but specifically focuses on trusts created by the deceased and recorded in their will. A trust is a legal entity that the deceased creates in their lifetime and uses to place assets from the estate there, so that the assets are no longer considered to be part of the estate, thereby reducing the need for probate and simplifying the estate settlement procedure.
A trust needs to be managed, of course, and that’s where the estate trustee comes in. The difference is that a trustee deals only with the assets in the trust, and is not involved in any other aspect of settling the estate. The trustee also must carry out their duties until the trust is dissolved. This could be before, during, or after an estate is settled. An estate executor’s responsibilities, on the other hand, end once the estate is settled.