Trustees manage trust estates and personal representatives (known as administrators/executors in some states) manage probate estates. Trust estates are primarily administered consistent with the terms of an underlying trust, while probate estates are administered consistent with the Missouri Probate Code.
While the specifics of administration can vary, one crucial characteristic which is common to both trustees and personal representatives is the existence of a fiduciary duty. Generally speaking, a fiduciary duty is one imposed by the law wherein somebody like a trustee or personal representative has a heightened standard of care and loyalty which they owe to another. In the case of trustees and personal representatives, then, each owe a fiduciary duty to beneficiaries of a trust, heirs of a probate estate, or beneficiaries of a will.
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