Written by attorney Sharon M. Siegel

What Happens to a Power of Attorney upon Death

A power of attorney is no longer effective after the principal dies. Many times the principal does not advise a financial institution that someone has passed away in order to continue to use a power of attorney. This is illegal. There are many reasons why this fact is very important. Firstly, if an individual continues to use a power of attorney after the principal's death, it can frustrate the Executor's ability to administer the estate because the will may have named beneficiaries that are different than the agents designated on the power of attorney. Never forget that there are priority creditors, such as the IRS, that get paid before anyone. A power of attorney cannot be used to pay a funeral bill. This is why I strongly suggest that each individual have a burial account. It is Medicaid exempt and will relieve much tension at the time of death.

Sharon M. Siegel

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