Is a POA responsible for the principal’s debt after their death?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is a POA responsible for the principal’s debt after their death?

My husband was his father’s durable power of attorney prior to his death. Only for about 2 months for the purpose of handling his bank account, medical matters, ending contracts, etc. We has no problem with anyone except his apartment leasing office. Even after we spoke to them and informed them that his father was terminal, dying, in hospice care and wouldn’t be returning home – with which we presented a letter from the doctor, a formal 30 day notice – they still kept charging his father rent. His father passed away about 3 weeks ago and now the apartments have contacted my husband to tell him that unless we pay the outstanding balance that his father owed they will file for eviction and hold my husband responsible since he was the POA. First how can they file for eviction since we gave notice? Second, can they hold my husband responsible since POA is void after death?

Asked on February 12, 2017 under Estate Planning, Texas


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Your husband should not be held liable for his father's rent or other debts unless they resulted from dishonest or grossly irresponsible acts on your husband's part. As long as he was honest, careful and faithful to the instructions given him in the power-of-attorney document, he cannot be held liable. Further, a POA's duties end upon the death of the principal. At that point, the principal's executor (or ersonal reresentative if there was no Will), winds up affairs of the estate. Accordingly, if there are debts to be paid, the executor will pay them out of the deceased's assets.

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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