Does a Power of Attorney End at Death?
A power of attorney is a powerful planning document that enables you (the principal) to give another person (the agent or attorney-in-fact) the power to act for you while you are alive. Because it is often prepared in the context of estate planning, many believe it gives their agents the power to continue acting after their death. A power of attorney (POA) can convey a significant range of power to the person you appoint. This includes the ability to do the following on your behalf: - Enter into real estate transactions; - Enter into leases and purchase personal property; - Engage in banking transactions; - Engage in business operating transactions; - Handle insurance transactions; - Engage in estate transactions; - Manage the financial aspects of your health care; - Manage your retirement accounts; - Handle your tax matters; and many more transactions. The main purpose of having a power of attorney is so that in the event of temporary or permanent incapacity, your chosen agent will have the ability to handle your affairs. That being said, a power of attorney expires upon your death. So, if you have entrusted a
particular person with carrying out certain functions on your behalf while you were alive, those abilities cease when you pass away. If you wish for the same person to continue handling your
affairs after you die, you would need to specify they serve as the executor or personal representative of your will or trustee of your trust. If you are concerned about maintaining continuity or making sure a particular person oversees your affairs upon your passing, be sure to speak with an estate planning attorney.
Every person’s situation and needs are different, and state laws also vary. Connect with your estate planner to help you understand your local laws and tailor an estate plan that meets your needs.