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Can power of attorney legally withdraw funds from principal's bank account once he/she is dead?

Newark, NJ |

A well established lady marries a guy. The lady does everything she can to protect her assets and etc. The lady becomes very ill from a disease and need her husband to handle things such as bill, bank transactions and etc. The lady is well aware that the disease will cause her death in a matter of time. She doesn't want to put her husband's name on the bank account as the lady knows that he will have direct access once she pass away.

Instead she makes him power of attorney, since its no longer valid after her passing.

Now we know that power of attorney ends once the person dies. Could the husband legally still take funds from the account they had access to once the person passed away? Would it even be legal to take funds from the accounts for the funeral?

From my understanding access to bank accounts with a power of attorney that is no longer in effect is wrong. If the person wanted the person to have direct access to the bank accounts the person would have placed their name of the accounts (jointly). If this is a crime, what could the person be charged with? Also, who would the family contact if they suspect this is going on?

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

A power of attorney has no further effect after the death of a grantor. An executor of the estate then needs to proceed, and no funds could be removed under the power of attorney.

The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advice" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also avvo.com terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.

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Posted

I agree with counsel. The power of attorney ends with the death of the principal.If the attorney uses the power after the death of the principal, the attorney is liable to the estate.

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Posted

A power of attorney ends at the death of the principal. Thus, the agent may not use the POA to withdraw funds from the principal's account after the principal's death.

If this answer was helpful, please mark it as helpful or as a best answer. This answer is for general education purposes only. It neither creates an attorney-client relationship nor provides legal guidance or advice. The answer is based on the limited information provided and the answer might be different had additional information been provided. You should consult an attorney.

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