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

When a person creates an estate plan, they are preparing for what will happen to their assets after they die. This allows them to ensure these possessions are taken care of when they are no longer able to do so. In order for these final wishes to be fulfilled, another individual is appointed to handle the administration of the decedent’s estate. This person is known as an executor. There are some circumstances in which a person may need assistance even before their death. It is because of this that a power of attorney may be appointed to make decisions for a person while they are still alive but cannot do so themselves. 

What is an Executor?

An executor may be chosen by a person to take care of their estate administration after their death. There are numerous responsibilities that come with this job. First, they must bring the deceased’s will to the Surrogate Court in which they lived. This begins the probate process to approve the document. Once it is approved, the executor must handle any outstanding finances. To finish their job, they are required to distribute the deceased’s assets to their rightful beneficiaries. 

When appointing an executor, it is important that this individual can be trusted to complete the tasks. They should be an individual who can make decisions that are in the best interest of the deceased and their estate. In the event that an executor acts negligently in taking care of an estate, they can be replaced by the court.

What is a Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney can be appointed to make important decisions for an individual’s life while they are still alive. If a person is dying or unable to communicate their desires for themselves, they may have a power of attorney to do so for them. This person must be trusted to act in the individual’s best interest. Often times, a loved one or family member is chosen for the job. 

It is important to know that the authority given to a power of attorney is not unlimited. They are given as much influence as allowed to them by the individual who appointed them. This may be for situations relating to health emergencies, financial matters, or other situations.

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