Is a Power of Attorney Valid After Death?
No. A power of attorney is not valid after the principal dies.
What is a power of attorney? A power of attorney (“POA”) is a legal document that authorizes one person (the “agent” or “attorney-in-fact”) to act on behalf of another person (the “principal”). A POA can grant broad powers or only powers specific to a particular transaction or activity. In Florida, a power of attorney must be signed by the principal, two witnesses, and a notary to be valid. A Durable Power of Attorney is Valid After the Principal’s Incapacity. A power of attorney generally terminates when the principal becomes incapacitated. However, a “durable” power of attorney remains valid even after the principal’s incapacity. A Power of Attorney is Not Valid After the Principal’s Death. When a principal dies, the powers authorized under a POA—whether it’s a general POA or a durable POA—are no longer valid or enforceable.
If you have POA over a deceased loved one, the POA no longer gives you authority to manage your loved one’s legal or financial affairs, such as paying debts, settling bank accounts, or writing checks.
When a loved one passes away, an agent should consult with a probate attorney for advice on how to manage their loved one’s affairs after death. Have questions about a power of attorney? Call today for a free consultation: (850) 427-2228. Lauren A. Lewis, P.A. 111 S. De Villiers Street, Ste. B Pensacola, FL 32502