When a person passes away, there are a lot of arrangements to be made, from memorial or funeral details to validate the will. It can be hard to focus on all the logistics when you’re grieving for a loved one, but getting the estate in order is an important task. If you have power of attorney on behalf of someone, or you’re thinking of giving a loved one power of attorney, then you might be wondering if it still applies after death.
What is Power of Attorney?
No one likes to admit that there could be a point in their life when they need someone to make decisions for them, but it happens all the time. In some situations, it makes sense to give someone the authority to act on your behalf. That’s where a power of attorney comes in.
Power of attorney gives a designated person the authority to make some important decisions for you and act as your agent for certain activities, such as legal, financial, or medical matters. Power of attorney could be used to allow someone you trust to sell your house for you, for instance, or to give them the power to make medical decisions if you become incapacitated. If you don’t designate a person to have power of attorney, someone will be appointed by the court if you become unable to make your own decisions or manage your own affairs.
How Does Power of Attorney Work?
Power of attorney arrangements can be set up to take effect right away or only when it’s needed. This provides peace of mind by allowing you to set up power of attorney while you’re able to discuss your wishes with the person you designate as your agent.
You can set up a power of attorney document based on your needs. If you only need it for a specific purpose, you can make it very limited in scope so that it expires when it’s no longer needed. Or, you could set up the full power of attorney in case you become unable to make your own decisions.
Does Power of Attorney Expire After Death?
When a person dies, power of attorney ends at once. This is because the executor of the estate takes over to go through the probate process and ensure that all assets are distributed as directed by the will. If there is no will, the court will be in charge of the process. A person who formerly had power of attorney may petition the court to be named executor, however.
Who Should I Choose for Power of Attorney?
Someone who is given power of attorney holds a huge amount of power. It’s very important to choose someone you trust fully to act in your best interests. To learn more about setting up a power of attorney document, call our Worcester, MA law office at 508-571-5452 to discuss your estate planning needs with our experienced attorney.