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The difference between an estate executor and a power of attorney

When getting started with your estate planning, it is wise to break down some of the main terms and ideas so that you can know what options you have. Today we will take a look at the difference between an estate executor and a power of attorney.

A power of attorney is not a person but, rather, a document that gives power to an agent. That agent is the person named by the individual doing the estate planning. There are two main types of powers of attorney: Medical and legal. Both of them authorize the agent to make decisions on the other person's behalf.

This document is most useful while someone is still alive but if they become incapacitated. For instance, they may be unconscious after a stroke, but a legal power of attorney means that someone can pay their bills and access accounts, while the medical power of attorney means someone can work with the doctors to make medical decisions for them.

If the person passes away, that's when an estate executor comes into the picture. This person works through the process of distributing the estate. For instance, they may mail copies of the wills to the beneficiaries, pay off outstanding debts, gather all remaining assets and things of this nature. The will or estate plan tells them what they need to do, and they are in charge of accomplishing those goals and making sure the plan is followed properly.

Both of these areas are things you may want to address as you do your planning, so be sure you know what steps to take.

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