my father's girlfriend has POA over my father, can she make all of his funeral arrangements? I found out my father died 4 days after his death, and she and her son are taking care of my fathers legal matters and funeral. What rights as a child do I have in this matter.
Wills and Living Wills Lawyer
I strongly recommend you immediately consult with an attorney who handles probate matters. As far as funeral arrangements, Florida law states that any person can make funeral arrangements as long as they are in line with the decedent's (in this case, your father's) written instructions. Beyond the funeral arrangements, you need to find out if there is a will and if so, who is named as the Personal Representative (person responsible for administering the estate). If you are named or if there is not a will, I would think you would want to Petition to be the Personal Representative. If there is not a will, you will have rights to the estate. If there is a will, a review of the will and assets will need to be done to determine if you are a rightful beneficiary.
Douglas R. Coenson, Esq.
Family Law Attorney
I am sorry to hear about your father's death. I know it is difficult for any son to go through it, no matter what.
Your father's POA died with him and it is invalid. His girlfriend can only make funeral arrangements if he left a Last Will and Testament reflecting those were his wishes. Otherwise, Florida law takes over and designs who has the right to proceed with funeral arrangements, burial, autopsy requests, etc. Florida law provides that the Wife (if any) has priority. If he was not married, then his parents have priority, if his parents are deceased, then you (or any other children) have the right to make the decisions regarding burial.
So, you have to start by checking if there is a Will for a lawyer to review it for you. If there is not, then to have a consultation with an attorney to determine what are your rights and possible obligations and to learn about the "probate" process (which is complex).
Alejandro R. Lopez, Esq.
Law Office of Alejandro R. Lopez, P.A.
4465 Edgewater Drive,
Orlando, Fla. 32804
Ph.: (407) 649-1404
Fax: (407) 649-9890