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The difference between a power of attorney and an executor

Many people are aware that they need to name certain individuals to care for themselves and their property should they become incapacitated or pass away. What they may not quite understand is that these two scenarios actually require different types of planning and the naming of distinct types of caretakers. Knowing the difference between a power of attorney and and executor is critical for British Columbia families seeking to plan for the future.

Power of attorney gives an individual or individuals the right to act on a person's behalf if that individual is unable to do so. People often will name one power of attorney for health and care, and another for finances. These jobs can both be done by the same person, or in some cases, co-powers of attorney are named as a check and balance for important decisions.

Importantly, a power of attorney is only able to act on someone's behalf while the person granting the power is still alive; once the individual passes away, a will takes over and the named executor is given these responsibilities. This typically includes making funeral arrangements, deciding on burial or cremation, and dividing property. These decisions can be clarified in an individual's will, or can be left to the executor for the final decision.

There are other reasons a power of attorney (POA) may be revoked besides death. This includes the person who named the POA entering bankruptcy or a court decision to have an administer handle affairs. Those who have questions or concerns about POA issues in their family should reach out to a British Columbia lawyer for answers and options.

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