Celebrity Estates: Anne Heche and the Roles of Trustees and Administrators

January 17, 2023Media Mention

Benny Roshan, Chair of the Probate, Trusts & Estates Litigation group, joined David Lenok, host of's "Celebrity Estates: Wills of the Rich and Famous," to discuss the benefits and detriments of probate, executors and trustees, and the difference in responsibility between trustees and administrators.


"At their core, executors and trustees are representative roles. This means that these appointed or nominated persons serve on behalf of a trustee or executor. There are a lot of similarities between the two roles because they have fiduciary obligations and responsibilities to the heirs of particular estates. One of the main key differences between an executor and trustee is that executors are automatically under court supervision because if you have a will and you don't have a trust your estate goes through the court system. You have to file accountings and documents with the court. If you are a trustee, you have the option of bypassing the court supervision process."

"In general, anytime you go through court supervision, you are introducing another factor into the equation. There are notice requirements. For example, you can't sell real estate without giving notice to the beneficiaries or you have that sale authorized and blessed by the court. It adds delays to the administration of that estate. If you have a trust, the trustee in the trust document has powers and authorities to act quickly and efficiently and take action in emergency situations that you are not necessarily afforded if you have to have 45- or 60-days of notice in an estate administration."

"A lot of people don't think it is a big deal to have estate planning documents. Maybe I am biased because I am a Trusts and Estates litigation attorney, but when you make a choice to not have an estate plan, you are in essence making a choice to allow the state, in particular judges and other lawyers, to make that decision for you. You lose that control. When talking about the Anne Heche estate administration, in particular, I notice the inefficiencies that come into play."