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You will be unable to manage your own personal and financial affairs at some point in the future, even if it may not necessarily be on your radar at the moment.

This could happen due to multiple issues, including health issues and unpredictable life events, and it could also sadly be due to your passing. Your assets must still be handled, and your payments and taxes must be paid after that day arrives.

Someone will need the authority to step in and take care of your affairs if you are no longer able to handle them yourself due to disability or death. When is an executor necessary, and when can a power of attorney be used?

What Is an Executor of an Estate?

An executor is a person you determine and blatantly name in your Will to take care of your affairs after you die.

When the main party dies, any power of attorney document becomes virtually meaningless. Nobody can make financial or healthcare decisions for someone who has passed away unless they have been chosen to carry out their Last Will and Testament or a trust. This is where an executor is useful.

What Does an Executor Of an Estate Do?

The role of an executor is determined by the decedent's estate plan. In general, an executor is in charge of the decedent's Will, representing the estate in the probate process, and executing the Will, as well as performing a number of other tasks during the probate process, such as:

  • Filing a petition, including the decedent's death certificate, to commence the probate process
  • Notifying, using a newspaper ad or other means, all creditors of the decedent's death
  • Identifying and locating the decedent's complete estate, as well as presenting their Will
  • Determining the total value of the estate by valuing and consolidating the decedent's assets
  • Compiling final financial facts, such as the final tax return, outstanding obligations and payments, and other duties
  • Managing and caring for the decedent's assets and property, such as homes, automobiles, land, and pets
  • Executing the decedent's Will and distributing their possessions after probate

An executor cannot change the terms of your Will or coax you into changing it for their benefit either. (If they do, then it may create an instance of an invalid will)

How Does a Power of Attorney Work?

A power of attorney is a legally binding document that authorizes someone to act on behalf of the document's grantor or principle, usually within defined parameters and with multiple documents describing different capabilities.

A standard or general power of attorney, for example, does not allow your agent to represent you if you are mentally or physically incompetent. It only allows them to act on your behalf in the same way you would.

According to the American Bar Association, a power of attorney (POA) allows you to appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf. Your agent or attorney-in-fact is the person you pick, and the powers you give them determine what they can accomplish. You can, for example, form a financial power of attorney to provide the agent the legal ability to buy real estate while you're abroad on business.

A limited power of attorney, on the other hand, gives someone the authority to act on your behalf under very restricted conditions, such as signing on your behalf just for a specified reason or for one day.

The power can take effect immediately or only when a future event occurs, such as determining that you are incapable of acting for yourself owing to mental or physical impairment, the latter being a springing power of attorney. Although a power of attorney can be withdrawn, most states require formal notification to the person named to act on your behalf.


Start your Power of Attorney

Differences Between Power of Attorney and Executor

In general, the main difference between a Power of Attorney and an Executorship is the time that they take effect and make decisions. A Power of Attorney becomes ineffective at the time of your death. Only while you are alive may your agent handle your business.

Your Executor takes over after death and must file the death certificate, Will, and other legal documents with a court official in a procedure known as probate. Your Executor, even if they are mentioned in your Will, has no ability to act on your behalf while you are alive.

Power of Attorney Vs. Executor: Pros and Cons

Executor of Estate Power of Attorney
Pros - Has no legal authority over main party assets or decision-making while they’re alive - Must act in the best interest of the estate and demonstrate the care and skill expected by an ordinary person - Legal authority over the main party’s decision-making within predefined constraints - A regular/broad POA does not allow representation, only allowing them to act on your behalf in the same way that you would
Cons - Depending on the complexity of the estate, being an executor can be a significant time commitment for the intended party - If negligence or breach of duty are proved, damages can be sued for - The agent may act or do things contrary to the principal's wishes - Anyone other than the principal has no direct oversight of the agent's operations - A power of attorney may be rejected by third parties, such as a bank or other financial institution, due to risk of fraud

Can A Power of Attorney and Executor Be the Same Person?

The fundamental distinction between an agent with power of attorney and a will executor is that one represents a living person while the other represents the estate of a deceased person. There is no point where the two meet.

As a result, one individual can efficiently serve both tasks. However, it's vital to understand that this puts a lot of strain on the individual in question, especially if they have a complicated estate or financial condition. Be prepared by making both documents today.


Start your Last Will and Testament

Helpful Resources: Probate Process - AmericanBar Invalid Wills - PG.

You will be unable to manage your own personal and financial affairs at some point in the future, even if it may not necessarily be on your radar at the moment.

This could happen due to multiple issues, including health issues and unpredictable life events, and it could also sadly be due to your passing. Your assets must still be handled, and your payments and taxes must be paid after that day arrives.

Someone will need the authority to step in and take care of your affairs if you are no longer able to handle them yourself due to disability or death. When is an executor necessary, and when can a power of attorney be used?

What Is an Executor of an Estate?

An executor is a person you determine and blatantly name in your Will to take care of your affairs after you die.

When the main party dies, any power of attorney document becomes virtually meaningless. Nobody can make financial or healthcare decisions for someone who has passed away unless they have been chosen to carry out their Last Will and Testament or a trust. This is where an executor is useful.

What Does an Executor Of an Estate Do?

The role of an executor is determined by the decedent's estate plan. In general, an executor is in charge of the decedent's Will, representing the estate in the probate process, and executing the Will, as well as performing a number of other tasks during the probate process, such as:

  • Filing a petition, including the decedent's death certificate, to commence the probate process
  • Notifying, using a newspaper ad or other means, all creditors of the decedent's death
  • Identifying and locating the decedent's complete estate, as well as presenting their Will
  • Determining the total value of the estate by valuing and consolidating the decedent's assets
  • Compiling final financial facts, such as the final tax return, outstanding obligations and payments, and other duties
  • Managing and caring for the decedent's assets and property, such as homes, automobiles, land, and pets
  • Executing the decedent's Will and distributing their possessions after probate

An executor cannot change the terms of your Will or coax you into changing it for their benefit either. (If they do, then it may create an instance of an invalid will)

How Does a Power of Attorney Work?

A power of attorney is a legally binding document that authorizes someone to act on behalf of the document's grantor or principle, usually within defined parameters and with multiple documents describing different capabilities.

A standard or general power of attorney, for example, does not allow your agent to represent you if you are mentally or physically incompetent. It only allows them to act on your behalf in the same way you would.

According to the American Bar Association, a power of attorney (POA) allows you to appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf. Your agent or attorney-in-fact is the person you pick, and the powers you give them determine what they can accomplish. You can, for example, form a financial power of attorney to provide the agent the legal ability to buy real estate while you're abroad on business.

A limited power of attorney, on the other hand, gives someone the authority to act on your behalf under very restricted conditions, such as signing on your behalf just for a specified reason or for one day.

The power can take effect immediately or only when a future event occurs, such as determining that you are incapable of acting for yourself owing to mental or physical impairment, the latter being a springing power of attorney. Although a power of attorney can be withdrawn, most states require formal notification to the person named to act on your behalf.


Start your Power of Attorney

Differences Between Power of Attorney and Executor

In general, the main difference between a Power of Attorney and an Executorship is the time that they take effect and make decisions. A Power of Attorney becomes ineffective at the time of your death. Only while you are alive may your agent handle your business.

Your Executor takes over after death and must file the death certificate, Will, and other legal documents with a court official in a procedure known as probate. Your Executor, even if they are mentioned in your Will, has no ability to act on your behalf while you are alive.

Power of Attorney Vs. Executor: Pros and Cons

Executor of Estate Power of Attorney
Pros - Has no legal authority over main party assets or decision-making while they’re alive - Must act in the best interest of the estate and demonstrate the care and skill expected by an ordinary person - Legal authority over the main party’s decision-making within predefined constraints - A regular/broad POA does not allow representation, only allowing them to act on your behalf in the same way that you would
Cons - Depending on the complexity of the estate, being an executor can be a significant time commitment for the intended party - If negligence or breach of duty are proved, damages can be sued for - The agent may act or do things contrary to the principal's wishes - Anyone other than the principal has no direct oversight of the agent's operations - A power of attorney may be rejected by third parties, such as a bank or other financial institution, due to risk of fraud

Can A Power of Attorney and Executor Be the Same Person?

The fundamental distinction between an agent with power of attorney and a will executor is that one represents a living person while the other represents the estate of a deceased person. There is no point where the two meet.

As a result, one individual can efficiently serve both tasks. However, it's vital to understand that this puts a lot of strain on the individual in question, especially if they have a complicated estate or financial condition. Be prepared by making both documents today.


Start your Last Will and Testament

Helpful Resources: Probate Process - AmericanBar Invalid Wills - PG.