Does a medical/financial POA have rights after death?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Does a medical/financial POA have rights after death?

My father passed away about 4 months ago. His sister, my aunt was POA at the time of his death. There are things she is doing that his children disagree with. As far as I know, he did not have a Will or a life insurance policy. Does she still have rights to do what she wants after his death? How do I his oldest daughter find out if he had a will/life insurance? I need help ASAP. She My Aunt is planning a military service for him this weekend, which is something none of his children ever heard him say he wanted.

Asked on June 13, 2016 under Estate Planning, Wisconsin


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

A power of attorney terminates when the principal dies. This rule is followed in all states. Therefore, the agent no longer has authority to act on behalf of the principal and the principal’s successors take over the management of the deceased's affairs. Accordingly, in your situation, your aunt in acting outside of any legal authority. What you need to do now is to go the the probate court in the county in which you father was domiciled as the time of his death and ask for appointment as "personal representative" of his estate (this is like an executor when thereis noWill). You (or whichever sibling, etc. is appointed) will then be legally vested to administer the affairs of the estate.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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