We have come across this type of scenario quite often:
Daffy: My brother just died. I don’t think he had a will but I have power of attorney over him, so that means I can start handling his affairs, right?
Unfortunately, Daffy is wrong. LET’S BUST THIS MYTH!
A power of attorney gives someone the authority to act for another person in specific matters- when they are STILL ALIVE! There are various types of powers of attorney that allow an individual to designate someone else to act on their behalf if they are unable to do so- commonly in the event of incapacity. This “power” ceases to exist as soon as a person dies and cannot be used to handle their affairs.
So, if Daffy’s brother died without a will and there is probate property, then Daffy will have to file a petition in probate court and ask to be appointed as personal representative to administer the estate. Daffy CANNOT use his brother’s power of attorney to do this.
It is so important to work with a professional to create a comprehensive estate plan that best meets your needs and carries out your wishes. Most people are truly unaware of how certain legal documents function and their loved ones end up in a tough spot trying to figure things out when it’s too late. Protect yourself on the front end and save your loved ones hassle on the back end! Contact us today!
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