What is a Personal Representative? What is an Attorney-in-Fact?

Trust and Estate Administration Attorney

Dylan Dam
Attorney | Vandenack Weaver Truhlsen

When you are going through the estate planning process, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by all of the unfamiliar terms and phrases that you come across. One of those terms is Personal Representative. The Personal Representative is the person that you name in your Will who will be in charge of handling your estate after you have passed away. This person is tasked with settling and distributing your estate as you set forth in your Will in an efficient and expedient manner. Oftentimes, the Personal Representative works with an attorney to go through this process. You may also hear the Personal Representative referred to as the Executor of your estate.

Another term you may be unfamiliar with is Attorney-in-Fact. This person may also be referred to as your Agent, and they are the person that you name in your Power of Attorney document to make decisions on your behalf while you are alive but unable to make decisions yourself. Typically, you will have two separate Power of Attorney documents: one for health care and one for financial decisions. The person that you name as your Attorney-in-Fact in these documents can be the same for each, but it does not have to be.