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Everything You Need To Know About Power Of Attorney After The Death Of A Loved One

58% of people age 53 to 71 have estate planning documents that will help manage their estate in the event of their death.

When that happens, an estate executor is named that will take over the legal and financial obligations of the deceased. But if that person has a power of attorney, then what happens with power of attorney after death?

Figuring out the legal terms following a death is a difficult but necessary task. In this guide, we’ll tell you where one role starts and the other ends. Keep reading to learn more about the legal power of attorney and their role after death.

What Is Legal Power of Attorney?

A person who requires someone to make decisions and sign documents on their behalf can assign a Power of Attorney to another individual. They can choose a trusted individual from among their friends and family, or they might choose their attorney.

The person who designates the power of attorney is known as the principal. The individual who is given legal power of attorney is called the agent. They can be given broad or limited powers.

With broad powers, the power of attorney has unlimited authority over legal and financial transactions, as allowed by state law. Limited powers are restricted to a single matter or field.

The purpose of a power of attorney is to act as the person’s agent during their lifetime. The power of attorney is expected to help protect the individual’s estate while they’re alive.

What Happens to Power of Attorney After Death?

The law across all states dictates that power of attorney expires when the principal dies. However, expiration doesn’t take effect until the power of attorney is aware of the death of the principal. In practices, this means that they may continue to act on their behalf until they’re aware of the death.

Following the expiration of the power of attorney, the executor of the state is responsible for legal and financial matters. Named by the will, the executor is bound by the provisions of that will.

So while a power of attorney represents a principal in life, the executor represents the principal in death. Though the executor is only required to follow the instructions laid out by the will. In the case there is no will, the intestate laws of that state decide the estate of the deceased.

What About A Durable Power of Attorney?

There are two types of power of attorney: durable and non-durable.

If a person is assigned non-durable power of attorney, their duty expires when the principal becomes incapacitated. When the principal is incapable of handling their own affairs, a non-durable power of attorney is no longer valid.

On the other hand, a durable power of attorney would continue in their role despite incapacitation. This type of power of attorney doesn’t provide authority over life or death health care decisions. And although it provides a broader range of powers, it also expires upon death.

Need Legal Help?

The power of attorney after death ceases to have any power. Whether broad or limited, durable or non-durable, the legal power of attorney only grants powers while a person is alive. Following a death, the executor of the estate takes care of a person’s estate according to the terms of the will.

For more legal information regarding estate planning, be sure to check out our blog.

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