Powers of Attorney
A Power of Attorney document is used to state who should be your substitute decision maker (your “Agent”) if you are unable to make your own decisions, while you are still alive. This documents also states the scope and limits of the discretion your Agent will have in making any decisions for you.
As an example, imagine that your friend “Joe” were your Agent under a Power of Attorney document that gave him authority over your bank account (among other things). Now imagine that you are incapacitated. Acting as your Power of Attorney Agent, Joe could make decisions for you regarding that bank account up until your death. However, Joe would have no legitimate authority over that bank account once you passed away, unless Joe was also your Personal Representative in your Will. In that case, Joe can provide the Will to the County probate court, and a Judge can give Joe full authority over your bank account even though you are deceased. Now, acting as your Personal Representative, Joe can carry out your instructions regarding what to do with that bank account upon your death.