Executor of a Will and Power of Attorney

How do you choose who makes decisions for you when you die or become incapacitated (coma, deteriorating mental state, etc.)? 

The executor is the person who takes care of filing your Will with the court when you die, as well as handling most of your assets. Some assets will be distributed based on the beneficiary on certain accounts, but most will be handled by the executor.

The person you choose for this role must be someone you trust, as they will be responsible for carrying out your final wishes. They must also be organized and dedicated as most estates take the better part of a year to settle. You can choose two people to be co-executors, but this can lengthen the process as all the documents and any bumps along the way will need to be agreed upon by both people. Another option is to add a contingency executor, in case something doesn’t go as planned with the first person.

Next up is the Power of Attorney, and unlike an executor this person has the ability to make decisions for you, while you are still alive. If you are ever incapacitated, or in a state where you cannot make decisions for yourself, this is where the power of attorney comes in. 

As with the case of naming an executor you should make sure you trust this person, as they will be making decisions for you. With both of these you should talk with the people ahead of time and make sure they are ready for these responsibilities.