If you have one, can you use a power of attorney after death?
In this article, we’re going to cover:
When the courts appoint an administrator to an estate, they can choose anyone. This includes creditors or third-party companies. Meaning you and your family lose all control over the estate.
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What happens to a power of attorney after death?
Let’s go over all the things that happen after death.
And talk about the transition from power of attorney to the executor of the estate.
It’s important to know that a power of attorney after death is no longer valid.
This means that the power of attorney can no longer act on behalf of the estate.
After death, the only person that has powers is the executor of the estate.
A power of attorney allows you to handle property for a person while they are alive.
And a deceased person no longer owns anything for you to handle for them.
They no longer can legally hold money or property after death.
This is why a power of attorney after death becomes invalidated.
The power of attorney authorizes you to make financial transactions for someone.
But they technically no longer own the property or money that the POA put you in charge of.
After death, the estate owns the property.
And this is why it’s up to the executor to probate the will.
There’s a period between the death and when an executor takes inventory of the estate.
This is when the property in an estate is not properly documented.
And this enables people to steal from the estate.
The executor of the estate should comb through the property.
Take photos of everything in the house.
And anything that’s valuable should be collected and kept safe.
If the property gets stolen, it’s hard to get this property back later.
Because it’s hard to prove who took the property.
And that the property was even there in the first place.
Most of the time, the only documentation of property is if it’s described in the will.
Most of the time, it’s a good idea for the executor to take possession of the property.
This is so that the executor can protect the assets during probate.
Some people die without much in their estate.
Others die with millions in assets.
Either way, the estate needs to get probated.
Every estate has to go through probate.
The only property that does NOT have to go through probate is:
If there is a will, then the executor needs to file the will.
NOT filing the will is against the law.
Related: Consequences Of Not Probating A Will
Most states require you to probate the will within 30 days of the person passing away.
You’ll want to make a copy of the will before you file it.
The probate courts will keep the original copy.
After the will gets filed with the courts, the courts will oversee the probate process.
After death, the executor needs to inform all relevant parties of the death.
This includes, but is not limited to:
This will help ensure that additional charges do not accrue on the estate.
Most states require the executor to publish the death in a newspaper.
This way, creditors have an opportunity to get notified of the death.
Creditors have a limited amount of time to make claims against the estate.
Make sure that the claims against the estate are valid claims.
Valid creditor claims are then paid.
The executor will use estate funds to pay all the decedent’s debts and final bills.
The executor will file the decedent’s tax return for the year they died.
Taxes that are owed get paid out of the estate.
This can include liquidating assets to raise the money to pay taxes.
Estate taxes are usually due within 9 months of the person passing away.
After the creditors have been paid, it’s time to distribute the estate.
The executor distributes the estate according to the will.
If there is no will, the estate gets distributed per intestacy laws.
If you’re wondering how to get power of attorney after death, it’s too late.
You cannot get power of attorney after death for that person.
And a power of attorney gets voided after death.
The responsibilities transfer to the executor of the estate.
When someone passes away power of attorney (POA) ends immediately.
Regardless of when the POA takes effect, all power of attorneys end at death.
The only exception is a non-durable power of attorney.
The non-durable POA ends when the principal becomes incompetent.
After death, a power of attorney loses all medical and financial powers.
Related: Estate Planning Checklist
Yes, a power of attorney ends at death.
A power of attorney after death is no longer valid.
When the principal dies, the executor takes over the estate.
But what about a DURABLE power of attorney?
A durable power of attorney automatically ends at your death.
A durable power of attorney after death cannot handle things, such as:
You cannot use a power of attorney after death.
This is because the principal no longer owns the property.
A power of attorney gives someone the ability to make legal decisions about the principal’s:
But when a principal passes away, they no longer have any property.
Legally, the estate now owns the property.
Anything that needs be done for the property needs to get handled by the executor.
When we set up your estate plan, you can have your power of attorney also be your executor.
We see people pass away without wills all the time.
Their inheritance gets split up by the government.
Their spouses don’t get what they deserve.
Their kids don’t get fair splits of the inheritance.
It’s usually a mess and never turns out how the family wants it to.
Fill out the form below if you don’t want the government to be in control of your inheritance.