Is an Attorney and an Executor the same thing?

Wills, Probate, Tax & Trusts Article

31 March, 2015

There is often uncertainty surrounding the differences between an executor and an attorney. Making sure you understand the difference is important to ensure you put in place the correct measures for you and your family.

An executor is someone appointed by your will to sort out your affairs after you have died whereas an attorney is someone who is appointed to deal with things on your behalf whilst you are still living. A lasting power of attorney is a document that you can put in place appointing one or more people who would be able to make decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so for yourself. It is particularly useful for older family members who may be mindful of becoming incapacitated in one way or another.

There are two types of lasting power of attorney; one for property and finances and one for health and welfare. Most people are familiar with the idea of an attorney for property and finances, being someone enabled to access your bank accounts, deal with your pensions, pay your bills and dispose of property for you if necessary. You can appoint more than one person and can appoint replacements in case an attorney can't act for any reason. You can also put restrictions on what they can do if necessary.

Health and welfare lasting powers of attorney are also becoming increasingly popular as with an ageing population and increased life expectancy, more and more people need health and social care later in life. Without a lasting power of attorney in place, it would be necessary for someone to have to go to Court to gain access to your finances if you became incapacitated, something which can be a lengthy and expensive process.

Victoria Motley is Associate Solicitor within the Wills, Probate, Tax and Trusts department at Forbes Solicitors, and also a member of Solicitors For The Elderly. For more information please contact Victoria Motley in our on 01772 220022 or Victoria Motley.

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