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The Difference Between a Power of Attorney and a Will

What is the difference between a Power of Attorney and a Will?

Many clients raise this question often because they are not clear which circumstances each is used for. The main difference is that a Power of Attorney is used for incapacity planning while you’re still alive, granting an appointed person (your “Agent”) the ability to perform certain tasks until you pass away.

You might give Power of Attorney to your Agent, for example, to sell your house while you’re in Europe for the summer. You might also give Power of Attorney over health care to someone, which is usually called a “Health Care Directive”, so if you’re in a coma or on life support, somebody can make the decisions about what to do. Powers of Attorney are all documents for when you’re still alive.

Only once you pass away is the Power of Attorney voided, at which point a Will kicks in. Your Will declares who receives your property, and appoints who’s going to manage your property or Estate (also known as a “Trustee”) after you have passed. In a Will, you can list out specific items (i.e. jewelry, money, cars, guns, the family home, etc.) that you wish to designate to be given to someone, and the Trustee will be responsible to make sure everything gets to where it needs to go.

If you want to talk more about setting any of these up, give us a call at (702) 850-7798, or click here to schedule a complimentary, 15-minute phone consultation with our attorneys.

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