Wills and LPAs – is there any overlap?
You may have made a Will and a Lasting Power of Attorney. These are separate documents, but we are often asked if there is any relationship between the two documents and the differences between Attorneys and Executors.
Attorneys are the people you choose to make decisions for you or to act on your behalf when you make a Lasting Power of Attorney for property/ financial affairs or health/ welfare decisions. There is no need for an Attorney to be a legal professional and in fact, most commonly, people choose close family members, friends and other people they trust to be appointed as their Attorneys. It is important that you know your Attorney well and trust that they will respect your views and act in your best interests if you need their assistance or did not have capacity to manage your own affairs. It is a common misconception that your Attorneys will be involved in the administration of your estate when you pass away.
In reality, the role of your Attorney ends when you die and your Attorney has no legal authority to deal with your estate. It is the Executors appointed in your Will, who deal with the administration of your estate after your death. As your Will only comes into effect when you die, your Executors will not be involved in your affairs at all until this point. Quite often, you may decide that your Executors and Attorneys should be the same people, but the roles are entirely separate and there is not any formal overlap. For example, you could not ask your Executor to pay a bill or go to the bank for you, as they would not be legally authorised to do that unless you had also appointed them as your Attorney under a LPA.
You do not have to make a Will and a LPA at the same time but, if you are putting your affairs in order generally, it would be a good idea to consider making both a Will and LPAs.