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A power of attorney is a legal document. When you give someone power of attorney you give him or her the legal power to take care of financial and legal matters for you. This might include paying bills, depositing or withdrawing money from your bank account, investing your money or selling your house.

The person you give this power to is called the attorney (in this case, attorney does not mean lawyer). You are called the adult.

Why Have a Power of Attorney?

There are many reasons people make a power of attorney. One reason is because they are physically unable to look after their affairs due to travel or injury.

Example: Anita is leaving the country to visit her grandchildren. She may be gone for a long time. She wants to give her niece the authority to pay her bills when she is away. Anita makes a power of attorney.
Another reason is in case they become “mentally incapable” due to illness, disease or accident.

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What is a Will?

A Will is a legal document that leaves instructions about what you want done with everything you own at your death. everything you own at your death is called the estate.

A Will gives you some control over what will happen to what you own when you die. By having a Will, you can make sure that the things you own go to the people you want to have them. A Will can be useful for people who outlive you. They can then feel sure that they are carrying out your wishes.

When should I make a will?

You can make a Will at any time. You should make a Will if you marry or if you start a family. Even if you don’t marry or have children, or don’t have many assets, it’s still a good idea to make a Will so that you can leave your belongings to the special people in your life.
Also, you should make a Will when you are in good health. To make a Will, you need to be mentally capable. Your mental capability can be affected by illness, accidents or drug treatment.

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What is an Executor

An executor is the person named in a Will to carry out the directions contained in the Will. The executor is responsible for settling the person’s affairs after death. The person’s estate passes temporarily to the executor.
The executor locates all of the person’s assets, pays the funeral costs, debts and taxes, and then distributes the remaining money and property according to the instructions in the Will. The executor is accountable to the beneficiaries. For example, the executor must let the beneficiaries know when he or she is applying for probate, and must keep records and give all beneficiaries a final statement of accounts.
Being an Executor

Being an executor takes time, energy and careful attention to detail. An executor can get help from friends and family members and also from a lawyer or accountant if necessary. However, the executor is the person who is legally responsible. An executor will make the decisions, watch over everything, and keep accurate records.

A Senior’s Experience: I found out after my brother died that he had named me executor. He didn’t ask me first. Although I loved my brother, I didn’t want the job. I was 78 years old. Also, I live in Alberta and he lived in BC. It was going to be too difficult. So I signed a Renunciation of Probate form, and the alternate executor took over.

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