August 8, 2019

Estate Planning: Important Roles to Consider

When it comes to Estate Planning, there are many important roles that must be considered. Appointing these roles wisely can be the difference in a smooth transition and a messy legal battle for you and your loved ones. Key roles include: Executor, Guardians, Health Care Proxy, and Power of Attorney.

Executor (Personal Representative)

  • This individual is named in the will and is responsible for overseeing and executing the will
  • Key responsibilities include: distributing property according to the will, paying bills, handling tax matters
  • May be a spouse, friend, family member or professional such as a lawyer, accountant, trust company, etc.


  • This individual is named in the will and is appointed to be the legal guardian for minor children left behind in the event of death
  • May also grant what is called “conservatorship”, for adult dependents who are unable to care for themselves
  • May be a spouse, friend, or other family member

Power of Attorney

  • Separate legal document that gives appointed individual the right to access assets and accounts
  • Document and privileges expire upon death
  • May be referred to as “durable” power of attorney meaning that the role may take effect upon incapacitation

Health Care Proxy

  • Separate legal document that gives appointed individual legal authority over healthcare decisions upon incapacitation
  • Very important decision as this person is in control of medical procedures rendered
  • Expires upon death

If you are in need of legal representation or would like to speak with an attorney with regard to will preparation or other trusts and estates matters you can call the Boston Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral Service at 617-742-0625, connect with an area lawyer online 24/7 by clicking “Get Started” here, or by submitting an email request online today.