My father just died this week. His wife was in the hospital at the time of his passing, and I was named to a durable power of attorney both for my father and my stepmother. Her niece is also granted the same power of attorney on the same documents and I have no idea what issues I could run into with running her affairs and paying her bills at the same time I am trying to change anything I have to from my father's name to hers. (my stepmother) Is there a possibility of conflict arising from two distinct people both having power of attorney on the same estate?
I guess I wasn't clear enough I am co-executor on my father's will, as well as my stepmothers will, but, the lawyer who drew up the wills and the POA's as well told me there is no reason to open the will and go through probate unless a conflict between my father's bequests and the properties and other moneys passing to his wife as survivor. As an example, a CD in my fathers name, be-quested to me, the only child, will pass to my stepmother if the will is not opened. When that happens, I would have control over that money for his wife's benefit using my POA for her, but that money should pass to me as my father be-quested it, instead, I would administer it for her, but she would possess my money, wouldn't she?
You do not use a POA for an estate. A POA terminates upon death. So there is ZERO liability associated with acting under your father's POA, and you no longer have any legal right to do so. You need to be appointed executor or administrator for your father's estate; (we call them personal representatives, in Michigan). That person would have legal authority to do whatever needs to be done with regard to the estate.
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Elder Law Attorney
First, please accept my sympathies on your father's passing.
I'm not sure why your attorney advised you not to probate the will. Sometimes there are not enough assets to warrant probate. Sometimes, all of the assets are set up to pass outside the will. Being told that you don't need to probate the assets because you will be able to manage the assets if they pass to your stepmother is odd. With the stress of your father's passing, I wonder if there wasn't a miscommunication. Let some time pass and go back to the attorney for clarification. If you get the same answer, you may want to consult with another probate attorney in your area. In fairness, I am a Georgia attorney with almost no knowledge about Pennsylvania law. I would feel more comfortable, however, getting the same opinion from two different attorneys in this circumstance.
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