What are the Differences Between a Power of Attorney and an Executor?

When people create an estate plan, they are doing so with the intention of preparing for their assets after their death. This allows them to ensure their possessions are still taken care of, even after they are gone. In doing so, individuals often appoint other people to help them take care of these processes. An executor of an estate may be appointed by an individual to handle the administrative duties that are necessary to ensure an estate is handled correctly after their death. However, there are some cases in which an individual requires some assistance with certain matters even before their death. Because of this, some individuals will appoint a power of attorney to make decisions for them when they are no longer able to do so themselves.

What is an Executor?

When an estate plan is created, an executor may be chosen to take care of the necessary tasks of estate administration. This job comes with certain responsibilities. An executor’s first job is to bring the deceased’s will to Surrogate Court so that the process of probate may begin and the will can b approved. Once this is taken care of, they are required to handle any finances that were left outstanding and must still be paid. In addition to this, one of the most important parts of administering an estate is distributing the deceased’s assets to their rightful beneficiaries. If a will is contested by a beneficiary, the executor must resolve this issue.

An executor should be an individual who can be trusted to do the job properly. It is important to know that an executor may be replaced if they fail to do so. A new executor may be appointed by a judge in the event that the original executor handled the estate negligently. This may be if they did not act in the best interest of the deceased who created the estate plan.

What is a Power of Attorney?

The job of a power of attorney is to make important decisions for another individual’s life. If someone is dying or incapable of communicating their own desires by themselves, they may have a power of attorney to do so for them. This is done through a legal document that allows this individual the authority to make necessary decisions for them. This also requires an individual who can be trusted to act in a person’s best interest. Often times, family members or loved ones are chosen for the position.

It is important to understand that the power of attorney’s authority is not unlimited. They are only allowed as much influence on these decisions as the individual who appointed them gives. A power of attorney may be given the responsibility to make decisions regarding issues such as health emergencies, financial matters, or other situations.

Contact our Firm

If you have been assigned as a power of attorney or an executor and wish to consult a legal representative, contact the Law Offices of Cynthia L. Hanley, P.C. today.

If you require compassionate and knowledgeable legal guidance for a matter of divorce, family or estate law, please contact the experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of Cynthia L. Hanley today. Our firm proudly serves clients in Mansfield, Massachusetts and throughout Bristol County.