how to get power of attorney when my parents are both dead?

by Mr. Rickie Lockman III 5 min read

You can't get a power of attorney for a person who is deceased. All powers of attorney expire on the death of a person. Depending on how much is in your mother's bank account you will need to open an estate in the probate division of the circuit court for the county your mother lived in at the time of her death.

Unfortunately, you can't get power of attorney and act on someone's behalf after they've died. According to the law, a power of attorney must be executed. At the same time, the principal is alive and of sound mind — acting of their own free will.Jul 4, 2022

Full Answer

How to get a power of attorney for a parent?

Broadly speaking, you get power of attorney for a parent by having him or her name you as the agent in a POA document that he or she has signed while sound of mind. However, the process is rarely as simple as it seems, especially when it comes to ensuring that your power of attorney will be recognized by third parties. Things can also become more complicated if you're trying to get power of attorney for a sick parent who is already suffering from dementia or another terminal illness or incurable condition that affects his or her ability to communicate or make reasoned decisions.

What is Durable Power of Attorney?

So, what is a durable power of attorney? It's an agreement that goes into effect right away and gives an agent the authority to carry out his or her specified responsibilities even after the principal becomes incapacitated. Essentially, the difference between a "general power of attorney" and a "durable power of attorney" is that a general POA terminates when the principal is deemed to lack capacity, whereas a durable POA stays valid beyond that point. In most cases, a durable power of attorney covers financial responsibilities, but some people also use it to cover certain duties related to caregiving or healthcare.

What is POA agreement?

Depending on the particular agreement, a power of attorney covers a broad or narrow set of responsibilities, usually related to financial and/or medical and caregiving matters.

What is the duty of a power of attorney agent?

The duty of a power of attorney agent is to always act in the best interests of the principal.

What is POA in law?

A POA document is generally a written agreement between two people: (1) the principal (sometimes called the grantor) and (2) the agent (sometimes called the attorney-in-fact). The agent is the person appointed to act on behalf of the principal. So your parent (the principal) can grant you (the agent) certain powers of attorney.

How to sign as a POA agent?

For example, you sign as a power of attorney agent by using a formula like "Your Parent's Name, by Your Name under POA." (If your name was John Doe and your parent's name was Jane Doe, your signature would be "Jane Doe, by John Doe under POA.")

When does a springing POA take effect?

Unlike most other types of POA documents, a springing POA agreement doesn't take effect until a specified date or a particular event takes place. For example, your parent may not want you to have any authority until he or she becomes incapacitated or turns a certain age.

How long after a person dies can you get a power of attorney?

Depending on whether there is real property (house) involved, you may be able to have access to her account by Small Estate affidavit. You must wait 40 days after the death before you can exercise the affidavit.

What is a power of attorney?

A Power of Attorney is a document that nominates a substitute decision maker for someone who is alive but unable or unwilling to make their own decisions. There is no such thing as a Power of Attorney for a dead person.

Why do bank officers ask for documents?

Often, bank officers ask for documents which are impossible, simply because they are not versed in the legal requirements. They should be asking for Letters of Administration if there is a probate proceeding, or a Small Estate Declaration if there is not. Ask the bank officer to contact their legal department.

Can you close a POA account after a deceased woman dies?

You can't. The POA terminated at her death. You should be able to close the account and have the funds distributed to her heirs without any court proceedings. Talk to the bank about what they require. It is usually just an affidavit.

Can you get a power of attorney if someone dies?

Once someone dies, one cannot get a power of attorney for that person. In this case, you will have to get an order from Probate Court to obtain the assets from the bank.

Do POAs end at death?

All POAs end at death. You will need permission from a probate court to settle your mother's estate. If the estate is small, you may be able to be named a special administrator which would allow you to do certain things like close bank accounts. However, if your mother's estate is larger, you may need to be named executor by the court.

Can you get a power of attorney for a deceased person?

You can't get a power of attorney for a person who is deceased. All powers of attorney expire on the death of a person. Depending on how much is in your mother's bank account you will need to open an estate in the probate division of the circuit court for the county your mother lived in at the time of her death.

When is a power of attorney granted?

Power of attorney (at least in my state) is something granted only when the person is alive to take care of the person's bills and decisions as outlined by the legal POA agreement. Advertisement. When someone passes, they should have a will with a designated executor.

What happens if your dad has a will?

If your Dad had a will then whoever was named as executor will have complete control of what is paid or not paid from his accounts. Did your Dad have an attorney? If so, that is the one you should talk to.

What to do if you are not the executor of a funeral?

If you are not the executor and there was one named, you will need to contact that person to wrap up things like the funeral. Be sure your dad did not prepay for his arrangements so you don't pay twice. That was a scam I heard about a few years ago. Where people prepaid their funeral, but the funeral home cheated families.

How long does it take to execute a will?

If the lawyer is deceased or no longer in practice, you will need to locate a lawyer you trust that can manage this process. It can take up to a year to execute a will, longer if the person had a complicated existence (meaning, for example, owned a business or had extensive investments, numerous bank accounts, or even excessive debt).

What to do if there's a legal aid office in your town?

First of all, shame on that company.#N#1. If there's a legal aid office in your town, make an appt. take all your paperwork and see if they can clear this up with a phone call.

What to do if there is no will?

If there is no will, then you will need to have a lawyer to help probate the will. That can be a challenge so do not go that process alone.

What to do if there was no will when she was alive?

If there was not a will make when she was alive you will need to go before a judge and ask them to grant you power to handle all of her affairs now that she is dead.

What happens if your parents don't grant power of attorney?

For instance, your mom could be unable to make IRA withdrawals from your dad’s retirement account, or worse. “Just recently, a client’s husband fell ill from a brain tumor.

What does a power of attorney do?

With a specific power of attorney, they may give their financial adviser the authority to handle their investment accounts and give you control over their day-to-day finances, such as ensuring that their bills get paid using the money in their accounts .

What to do if your parents don't have a notary?

If your parents aren’t able to go to a notary, you could hire a mobile notary service to come to their home; an Internet search should turn up several local options.

What does "springing power of attorney" mean?

It may make sense to give that person what’s known as “springing power of attorney,” which means the agreement will only take effect if a physician deems your parent to be incapacitated or incompetent.

What should a parent do if they are mentally competent?

Your parent is mentally competent, but wants help with routine money-management tasks, like paying bills or dealing with financial institutions. The helper should have a narrow power of attorney agreement, limiting the stand-in’s authority to such chores.

Can a parent have a back up power of attorney?

But each of your parents should list a back-up person on their power of attorney forms, in case both become incapacitated. 2. Your parent is single or married to someone who isn’t mentally competent to exercise power of attorney. In either case, there should be at least one other person with power of attorney.

Can my parents inherit my financial responsibilities?

One of your parents doesn't want to inherit the financial responsibilities of his or her spouse. “Sometimes a spouse doesn’t want to deal with investments, business decisions or estate-planning issues,” says Bragar. “In that case it makes sense to give at least some of those powers to a trusted financial adviser or attorney.”.

What Is Power of Attorney?

A legal term, power of attorney grants an individual known as the agent the right to act for another person, referred to as the principal. Depending on the case, a principal may appoint an agent to make decisions about their finances, legal rights, healthcare needs, or all of the above. The rights granted to an agent may be broad (such as handling all business transactions) or narrow (like selling a home).

Who does property pass to when someone dies?

For unmarried individuals, property and money pass to children and then to other relatives, including grandchildren, parents, grandparents, and siblings. In rare cases, someone may die who doesn’t have a will or living family members to inherit.

What to do if you don't have a will?

If you don’t currently have a will, you might want to consider speaking to an estate planning lawyer about how best to convey your final wishes to the court. Not only does making a will ensure that your property will go to the beneficiaries and heirs you choose, but it also saves your friends and loved ones from the stress of making decisions about your estate when they’re grieving. Here are some of the reasons that everyone needs a will:

What is the purpose of a last will and testament?

Choosing an Executor. Creating a last will and testament enables you to select someone to serve as executor. This person will be responsible for distributing your money and property according to the tenants of your will after your estate has gone through probate.

Is a power of attorney valid if the principal is still alive?

Power of attorney is only valid when the principal is still alive. After an individual passes, their estate representative or executor will be responsible for legal decision-making and distributing property to heirs. If the decedent failed to appoint an executor, the court will appoint one for them. In most cases, spouses and close family members are assigned the task of serving as a will’s executor.

Who is appointed as executor of a will?

If the decedent failed to appoint an executor, the court will appoint one for them. In most cases, spouses and close family members are assigned the task of serving as a will’s executor.

Do you have to pay off creditors before you can make distributions?

Note that your estate will still need to pay off creditors and settle any outstanding debts or tax bills before the executor can make distributions. By choosing an executor yourself, you also save friends and loved ones from having to make this decision after you’re no longer there.

How to get guardianship if you have no power of attorney?

Pursue legal guardianship if you cannot obtain power of attorney. If the person is already mentally incapacitated and did not grant power of attorney in a living will, it may be necessary to get conservatorship or adult guardianship. In most regards, the authority held by a guardian is similar to (but more limited than) those held by someone with power of attorney. A guardian is still accountable to the court, and must provide regular reports of transactions. To become a guardian of someone, a court must deem the principal to be “legally incompetent." In other words, they are judged to be unable to meet their own basic needs. If you believe someone you known meets the criteria for incompetence, you may petition the court to be named guardian.

What is a power of attorney?

In the United States, a Power of Attorney enables a person to legally make medical, financial, and certain personal decisions (such as recommending a guardian) for another person. You may need to grant someone power of attorney if you are incapable of handling all or part of your affairs for a period of time.

What is an ordinary power of attorney?

An ordinary or general power of attorney is comprehensive. It gives the agent all the powers, rights, and responsibilities that the person granting POA has. A person can use an ordinary power of attorney if s/he is not incapacitated but needs help in some areas. An ordinary power of attorney usually ends with the death or incapacitation of the person granting POA.

Why is notarizing a power of attorney important?

Notarizing the power of attorney document reduces the chance that it will be contested by an outside party.

How many witnesses are needed to sign a power of attorney?

Gather witnesses. In some states it is necessary to have the signing of the document witnesses by one or two people. For instance, in Florida, a power of attorney document must be signed by two witnesses while in Utah, no witnesses are required.

Why is it important to have a power of attorney?

Because the decisions that the person holding power of attorney makes are legally considered the decisions of the principal, it's vital that the agent be someone you trust absolutely and without question. Consider the following when thinking about possible agents: Consider how close the candidate is to the principal.

What happens when you file a guardianship petition?

Once you file the petition, the court will schedule a hearing. At the hearing, the proposed guardian must establish the incompetence of the proposed ward (the principal) and that no suitable alternatives to guardianship are feasible.

Why do you need a power of attorney for an elderly parent?

Common Reasons to Seek Power of Attorney for Elderly Parents. Financial Difficulties: A POA allows you to pay the bills and manage the finances for parents who are having difficulty staying on top of their financial obligations.

How to handle a power of attorney?

You may consider choosing clergy, a family friend or another community member as an agent. You can also hire a professional to handle the power of attorney. Banks and trust companies may take on this role, as can accountants and lawyers. Keep in mind that professionals are likely to charge fees, which can quickly become costly. If you do choose to hire a professional, interview them carefully, and make sure they understand your parent’s wishes. You may also wish to choose a professional based on what the POA is for, such as choosing an accountant to handle financial affairs.

Why Do You Need a Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney allows someone else to take care of your parent’s affairs. It can be temporary, for example paying bills while someone is on a long vacation, or lasting, such as making medical decisions after a car accident. As parents get older, it makes sense to be prepared for health issues that may mean they need help. A POA allows children, or another agent, to step in when the need arises. Jeter states, “Any person with an elderly parent should have the conversation with their parent about getting a power of attorney in place if one does not already exist. In my practice, I advise people not to wait when it comes to getting a power of attorney because there are just too many things that can come up in life.”

How does a durable power of attorney work?

A durable power of attorney lasts after the principal’s incapacitation. What you can do with a durable POA is based on both the document and state laws. In some cases, you may only be able to manage the principal’s finances and will need a separate medical power of attorney to make health care decisions. These POAs are used when a person can no longer handle their affairs, and it can end in several ways. They can be revoked upon the principal’s death or when a guardian is appointed. The principal can revoke the POA if they’re no longer incapacitated. For example, if a person wakes from a coma, they can take back control of their finances. There may also be conditions in the document that, if fulfilled, end the POA. A durable power of attorney comes into effect on the day it’s signed unless otherwise specified.

What is a POA in 2021?

Last Updated: July 16, 2021. A power of attorney (POA) can be an important element of planning for your elderly parent’s future. It allows another person to take action on your parent’s behalf, ensuring bills get paid and medical decisions can be made in the unfortunate circumstance that your elderly parent is unable to do those things on their own ...

What is the best document to prepare for an aging loved one?

There are two separate documents you’ll likely need as part of comprehensive planning for your aging loved one. The first is a financial POA , which provides for decisions regarding finances and for the ability to pay bills, manage accounts, and take care of investments. The second is an Advance Healthcare Directive, which is also known as a “living will” or a “power of attorney for healthcare.” This document outlines who will be an agent for healthcare decisions, as well as providing some general guidelines for healthcare decision-making.

How many witnesses do you need to sign a letter of attorney?

A notary public or attorney must witness your loved one signing the letter of attorney, and in some states, you’ll need two witnesses. The chosen agent must be over 18 and fully competent, meaning they understand the implications of their decision. When filling out the form, the parent must specify exactly which powers are transferring to the agent.