a woman who is appointed by a probate court to be an administrator of an estate.
How an Administratrix Works
An administratrix requires no special protocol. It is merely a qualifying title of a woman in a particular role (like actress, waitress, or other feminine forms of occupations and positions). In this case, the woman is a probate-court-appointed administrator to an estate in which the deceased left no will or did not name an executor. Usually, an administratrix is also the executor under Restatement of Property dealings.
Administratrix is an old-fashioned term, similar to executrix, and no longer used in professional settings. Instead, “administrator” is the correct, gender-encompassing language.
Administrators of an estate have various responsibilities, including gathering the estate’s assets, paying off outstanding debts, and distributing assets to beneficiaries according to state law (since there is no will). They may receive a percentage of the estate for their duties as estate administrator and should expect to be involved in the process for about 18 months.
It is 1950 in Oklahoma, and Janice’s aunt unexpectedly died in her sleep. Because her aunt was fairly young, she never made out a will or named an executor of her estate. Now, the family has to go to probate to work things out.
Using the laws of Descent and Distribution, the court must appoint an administrator or administratrix to the estate. Janice’s aunt did not have a spouse, so the estate passes down to the next closest next of kin, which would be her children—if she had any. Both of her parents have passed as well. The next people in line to become the administrator of her estate would be any brothers or sisters. Sadly, Janice’s mother, her only sibling, died five years ago. And of course, there are no grandchildren.
According to the Descent and Distribution laws, Janice does qualify to receive a portion of her aunt’s estate. She is a next of kin. Because all other options are unavailable, Janice is entitled to be her aunt’s estate administrator. The paperwork will list her as administratrix—since it’s the 1950s—as opposed to an administrator.
Significance of an Administratrix
Just because someone passes away doesn’t mean their life is over—at least their financial life. The surviving family must work out debt and inheritance issues. When there isn’t a will, it’s common for families to clash on who should do and who should get what. Having an administrator solves this confusion and the “too many cooks” conundrum. When a probate court appoints an administrator, it is like appointing a manager. This one person is now in charge of buttoning up what the decedent left behind and fairly distributing the decedent’s estate.
Administratrix vs. Executrix
Both administratrix and executrix are the feminine terminologies for people who distribute and manage a will and estate. Their responsibilities are the same, and the terms are both outdated. The difference is that an executrix is an executor assigned by the decedent. An administratrix is an executor assigned by the probate court.