Power of Attorney vs Executor of Will: What’s the Difference?

When a person dies, the people who were close to him or her are usually more preoccupied with funeral arrangements and are too grief stricken to think of any other issues. However, it is very important nowadays for a person to have a will and to acquire services from a power of attorney and an executor, especially if there are children involved who if you are gone will need to be taken care of.

There are a few differences between a power of attorney (holder) and an executor that a person should take into account as to why they are necessary in any person’s life. A power of attorney has different duties compared to an executor’s functions.

Also referred to as an attorney-in-fact, a power of attorney holder is a person who has the legal power to handle your property, finances and personal affairs for you while you are alive; whereas an executor is a person who is appointed by you to make decisions regarding your affairs and estate on your behalf after your death. The major difference between the two is that a power of attorney acts while you are still alive and stops after your death; whereas an executor’s functions begin after your death.


Although in some instances the function of power of attorney and executor can be done by the same person if indicated in the will of the individual in need of their services. Nevertheless the two roles each have separate duties and they are highly recommended to be included in a will if there is one.

Losing a family member, loved one or just a person you care for is often devastating. However things get even more complicated when there is no one to take care of the loved ones they have left behind especially if there are assets and properties involved. This is why hiring a power of attorney, executor or both is advisable.

It is also advisable to write a will fairly early in life before it is too late and you are unable to write one. It is highly recommended to write a will when one is able bodied and already has a family due to uncertainty of your mortality. Nevertheless, the sooner you write a will the better to enable your family or parties concerned to be taken care of while you are gone.