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A common misconception - Executors and Attorneys

A common misconception is that the roles of executors and attorneys are one and the same. For example, an attorney under a Lasting Power of Attorney may have been able to deal with a person’s finances and assets for many years but on that person’s death it is often wrongly assumed that they can continue with that power or are automatically an executor. In reality, on the person’s death the attorney’s role ceases and the executor who is appointed by the Will then takes the authority to deal with the estate. It may be that the attorney and the executor are the same person.

Lasting Power of Attorney

An attorney protects your interests while you are alive. If you want a trusted person to make important decisions on your behalf while you are alive but have lost mental capacity to make those important decisions then you can appoint an attorney through the making of a Lasting Power of Attorney. There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney, property and financial affairs and health and welfare. A property and financial affairs LPA allows your attorney to make decisions about your finances, property, investments, pensions, tax and bills.

It is critical that you set up an LPA while you are sound of mind as if you lose mental capacity you are then unable to appoint somebody to act as your attorney. Unfortunately, in this event, it is a much more time consuming and complex process as someone will need to apply to the Court of Protection as a deputy to make decisions on your behalf. That person may not be the person you would have chosen in your LPA.



A Will is a document that only ever comes into force on your death. The person you appoint as executor in your Will takes on the role of administering your estate. It is likely that they would need to apply for a Grant of Probate to have the legal authority to close accounts, sell property and distribute the estate to the beneficiaries.

The key difference is that an LPA is only active during your lifetime and upon your death the attorney’s role ends and your Will comes into effect meaning that the executor’s role begins. The key point to take away from this is that both roles are in a position of trust and it is important you decide who the appropriate persons for those roles should be.

If you would like to discuss your options in relation to setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney or making a Will then do not hesitate to contact us today on 02920 619700 / 01446 411000 and one of our team will be able to guide you through the process.

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