30 May 2019

The difference between executors and attorneys is often misunderstood; the roles are similar in some ways but very different. Both roles involve attending to somebody else’s financial affairs but in very different contexts and involve appointment by different documents.

 

An executor is someone who is appointed via a will and the appointment only comes into effect when the will maker has died. After the death of the will maker, an executor is responsible for ensuring that all of the estate assets are accounted for and distributed in accordance with the deceased person’s will. Appointing someone as an executor in a will does not give that person the authority to manage the will maker’s affairs during their lifetime.

 

An attorney is appointed under a lasting power of attorney (or an enduring power of attorney that was signed and witnessed before October 2007) and is someone who is chosen to assist a person during their lifetime to attend to their property and financial affairs. When that person dies, the document which appoints their attorney ceases to have effect and the attorney no longer has the authority to manage that person’s finances.

 

You can appoint the same person to be your executor and your attorney but you will need two different documents to make the appointments.

 

If you need any further information about wills and powers of attorney, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us on 01531 632377.