A common misconception is that if you appoint an executor in your Will, that person will automatically be appointed as your attorney in a Lasting Power of Attorney, or vice versa. However, this is not the case, and each matter should be dealt with separately with the support of a trusted legal professional.  

In this article, Langley Wellington’s experienced private client solicitors, based in Gloucestershire, highlight the differences between attorneys and executors and how best you should appoint each.

Appointing an Attorney

When you select and appoint an attorney, you will do so during the process of creating your Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) for finances and property or health and welfare. A Lasting Power of Attorney allows your appointed attorney to make decisions on your behalf when you no longer have the mental capacity to do so yourself.

An LPA is only active during your lifetime and typically comes into effect if you lose mental capacity. Your LPA is not active when you die, and, at this point, your attorney no longer has the authority to manage your financial or property affairs.

Appointing an Executor

You will appoint an executor during the Will writing process, and they will be responsible for ensuring that your estate is distributed according to the contents of your Will when you die. It is not enough to tell someone verbally that you want them to be your executor. This can only be done either via a valid Will or, where there is no Will, via a Court application.

Your executor may not know they are responsible for administering your estate until after you die as a Will is a private document; however, if you prefer, you can discuss it with them while you are alive.

Wills are often updated over time, and as such, it is possible to change who you want to appoint as your executor.

Executor VS Attorney

Roles associated with executors and attorneys are specific and separate; an attorney can only act up until death, and an executor can only act from the point of death onwards.

Your attorney should act in your best interests, whilst your executor should act in the best interests of your beneficiaries.

In both cases, you should trust the people you appoint. Selecting the same person to act as an attorney and executor (perhaps a spouse or child) is common, keeping things straightforward. It should be noted that even though your attorney and executor can be the same person, the organisation of both needs to be handled separately using separate documentation.

However, if you select different people for each responsibility, it is sensible to clarify where the duties and obligations begin and end.

Private Client Solicitors Gloucestershire

Several considerations need to be made when planning your estate and protecting your family. In doing so, whether you are setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney, writing or amending your Will, you will want to do so with the support of an experienced lawyer.

At Langley Wellington, based in Gloucester and Cheltenham, our specialist private client team has the knowledge and resources to support you throughout the process of planning your estate by taking the time to understand your intentions, priorities and preferences.

To speak to a member of our friendly team today, please call 01452 521286 (Gloucester) or 01242 269998 (Cheltenham). Alternatively, please email lawyers@langleywellington.co.uk or fill in this contact form.

This blog is not intended to be taken as advice or acted upon. If you are seeking legal advice, please get in touch with our team of solicitors.