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

Asked over 1 year ago - 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Instead she makes him power of attorney, since its no longer valid after her passing.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?

Additional information

From my understanding access to bank accounts with a power of attorney that is no longer in effect is wrong.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)

  1. Michael T Millar


    Contributor Level 19


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 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... more
  2. Matthew R Schutz

    Contributor Level 16


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . 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.

  3. Michael Charles Doland

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . 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... more

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