With the baby boomer generation living longer, adult children are taking on more responsibility, including being asked to administer estates.
However, for many adult children, this can seem overwhelming as well as confusing. Older parents require help with their wills and health leading to confusion between the terms “power of attorney” and “executor of estate.”
These two designations are not difficult once people understand that the dividing line between them is the death of the family member.
Power of Attorney
This term designates an individual to act on behalf of a relative or friend until that person dies.
Within this designation, there are several types of power of attorney. Medical power of attorney relates specifically to health care decisions.
If designated as such, a person will be called upon to work with health care providers to ensure appropriate medical care. This person is legally bound to make decisions based on the designator’s preferences to the extent they are capable.
In addition, a person may be deemed a financial power of attorney. This person is someone who handles both monetary issues such as retirement account and investment as well as mundane issues like mail and depositing social security checks.
Although called an “attorney-in-fact” who handles financial decisions, this person does not need to be either a lawyer or a financial professional. It simply needs to be someone trustworthy.
Some people use the same person for both medical power of attorney and financial power of attorney.
Estate Personal Representative
An estate personal representative is someone who takes care of issues involved with the will and estate after the passing of a loved one.
An executor of a will is named by the person making the will, however, the court still needs to approve the person prior to them commencing their duties.
In Georgia, the personal representative of a will is known as the “executor” and the personal representative of an estate without a will is known as the “administrator.”
Once approved by the court, the personal representative is required to gather assets, inventory them, and take possession of assets belonging to the estate. Now, the personal representative must provide notice to all the estate’s creditors within 60 days after being appointed the personal representative.
Then the personal representative is required to pay all debts and expenses attached to the estate, including funeral and burial expenses, and taxes. The personal representative is responsible for filing the final tax return for the deceased and the estate.
Once taxes and all debts have been paid, the estate will be distributed by the personal representative to named beneficiaries or the heirs. Then the personal representative will be able to close the estate.
While both designations include time and emotional energy, the difference lies in when the processes are being completed. Being designated a power of attorney means acting as a loved one’s representative during their lifetime.
Acting as someone’s estate administrator or executor means taking care of the technicalities of the estate after the person has passed away. Both require trust on behalf of both parties and should be discussed with an attorney as well as all people who will be involved.
Contact Brian M. Douglas and Associates Today
To lean more or to settle your Estate Planning needs, please call Georgia attorney Brian M. Douglas at (770) 933-9009 to schedule an consultation, or contact us online.