The Difference between an Attorney-in-Fact, Executor and Trustee with Respect to Decision Making Authority

In addition to being chalk-full with legalese and various complicated documents, part of the estate planning process includes naming people to make financial and health care decisions on your behalf during your lifetime, as well as naming individuals to carry out your wishes after you pass away. The names assigned to these various roles are not readily understandable and can be quite confusing. More than simply getting the names right, it is important to know who has authority to make decisions in instances where there is an apparent overlap in power. Below I endeavor to explain the differences between an Attorney-in-Fact, an Executor, and a Trustee and discuss who has the right to make decisions in three common examples. Continue reading →