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What happens to a power of attorney after death?

| Jun 30, 2020 | Estate Planning |

One commonly asked question is what happens to the power of attorney after someone dies. The short answer is it becomes invalid. Let’s look at why.

What is a power of attorney used for?

When you give someone power of attorney, you provide them with authority to make certain decisions or transactions on your behalf. You could use one to carry out your financial dealings when you are out of the country. You should appoint one or more to make health care and financial decisions if you are mentally unfit to do so in the future.

Why does the power of attorney stop on my death?

The powers of attorney you give someone will cease upon your death for one of two reasons:

  • When you die, there is no need for any more health care decisions, so a health care power of attorney becomes invalid.
  • On your death, what was your property is no longer yours because the law considers that dead people cannot hold assets. Instead, anything that was yours alone and not jointly held belongs to your estate.

Who makes decisions on my behalf after my death?

As part of your estate plan, you should name an executor of the estate. They fulfill any relevant duties that a power of attorney may have previously done and other vital roles.

Can I name the same person as power of attorney and executor?

You may wish to make one person both a power of attorney and executor. It can have the advantage of continuity. However, it may be a lot to ask of one person. Ensure you discuss it with them first before creating the necessary legal documents.

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