Initially, the nominated agent for your Power of Attorney for Healthcare, Power of Attorney for Property and the Executor of your Estate do not have to be the same person. You may choose to identify the same person if in fact you rely on one person to make all of these decisions. It is not uncommon for a trusted person to serve in all three capacities. Common examples include: spouse; partner; child or parent to be named in all three capacities.

Choosing to list the same individual  on all three documents is solely based on your level of comfort with what authority you are granting to the individual under each document.

A Powers of Attorney for Property and Healthcare are only effective during the principal’s life. Upon the principal passing away, the document and the authority laid out is no longer valid. The agent’s powers are limited and or expanded based solely on the language of the document. Upon death, the agent has no authority to pay your bills, arrange your funeral, or transfer property deeds to your heirs.

Alternatively, the Executor of a will has no authority during the individual’s lifetime. If the Decedent’s Will requires Probate, the individual nominated Executor of the Will must be approved and granted authority by the Probate Court before they can act. Once they are granted authority to act as the Executor of the deceased estate, they will have the ability to handle all of the Decedent’s personal affairs as they are set forth in the Will as well as those that are generally necessary to administer the Estate.

It is not uncommon for a trusted person to serve in all capacities, however, before choosing one person, two or three, you should consider what authority and responsibility you are delegating to that individual.

Contributor: Ron Webb