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What Happens to Your Power of Attorney (POA) When You Die?

Everyone needs a general power of attorney. Having someone else who can handle your financial affairs if you are out of the country or have become incapacitated is essential.

However, one significant limitation of a power of attorney is that this designation ends at your death.

You might have a power of attorney so that a trusted person can make financial decisions on your behalf and to protect your financial interests if you become incapacitated. This person can have a lot of responsibility -- dealing with banks, the IRS, your creditors, and many other entities. He or she might pay your taxes, handle legal claims on your behalf and apply for benefits.

However, everything stops at the time of your death. Your power of attorney is no longer effective.

Some extra things to keep in mind include:

Executor. After death, the executor you appointed in your will gains access to your finances and is legally entitled to act on your estate’s behalf. After handling any debts of the estate, your executor distributes the remaining balance in your accounts to your beneficiaries. POA’s are great, but they do come to an end. It’s important to consider who your executor will be and whether you want to nominate the same person for this position.

Incapacitation. You can revoke your Virginia power of attorney whenever you want – so long as you still have your wits about you. If you become incapacitated, your durable power of attorney will take over and will not be terminated unless the court orders it or you die.

Knowledge of Death. Once an agent acting under your power of attorney learns of your death, he or she can no longer act on your behalf. He or she cannot run to the bank and try to take out all of the remaining money. His or her power is now gone.

While a durable power of attorney in Virginia is an important estate planning tool, there are other important considerations for your estate plan.

We can walk through your estate plan with you, piece by piece, and offer you guidance and suggestions. If you would like help setting up a strong estate plan that is customized to your needs, contact us today at 804-658-3873 or at info@golightlylaw.com.

Case results depend upon a variety of factors unique to each case. Case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any future cases. Also, nothing in this website creates an attorney/client relationship, and you should not leave anything of a confidential nature on this website.

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