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Can a person use a deceased persons money to pay their funeral expenses without power of attorney.

Spring, TX |

my girfriends employer passed away (86 yr). she was his secretary and personal assistant and possessed and used his debit card with his permission. she paid his personal bills online and bought items under his direction with the card. his only relative (daughter) is not taking responsibility in making the funeral arrangements so my gf is having to do it all. she cant afford to pay for it and needs to know if she will encounter problems in the future if she uses his debit card to pay the funeral expenses. there is no power of attorney and she is not on the account.

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Attorney answers 2


She does not have authority to use the debit card and should not use it for these purposes. A power of attorney is not effective after death so this would not help her anyway. If there is a probate estate your friend can make a claim for reimbursement possibly.

Any individual seeking legal advice for their own situation should retain their own legal counsel as this response provides information that is general in nature and not specific to any person's unique situation. Circular 230 Disclaimer - Advice given in this response cannot be used to eliminate penalties with the IRS or any other governmental agency.


Your girl friend was an employee. She is NOTa relative.

As an employee, she is overstepping her authority.

She should do anything!

The family needs to make funeral decisions.

She might want to call me. I charge $2 a minute to talk. I think she needs to call me tomorrow morning.

713-847-6000 or email me at

She should NOT be doing anything!

He is dead - he cannot give her permission to use his bank account anymore. Any authority she had, ended when he died.

She needs to call his attorney immediately and contact the executor of his estate (the person listed in his will.)

The family needs to handle his affairs - not an employee.

She might REALLY want to call me tomorrow.