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Can a Power of Attorney be Used After Someone Dies? Georgia Estate Planning

Posted by Joel Beck | Jul 05, 2023 | 0 Comments

It's not uncommon for us to get asked if it's possible to manage someone's money and distribute their assets under a Power of Attorney (POA) after they've passed away. It's an understandable question, especially for those in the midst of grieving a loved one. Unfortunately, the quick and definitive answer to that question is no. Here's why: a Power of Attorney allows an agent to act on behalf of the principal. However, when the principal passes away, the agent's ability to act on their behalf also ends.

The Validity of Power of Attorney After Death

In more technical terms, any type of Power of Attorney for financial matters extinguishes or terminates at the death of the principal. This means, if you're the agent under a POA, your authority to act on behalf of the principal ends once the principal dies. The reason behind this is straightforward - a Power of Attorney acts as a vehicle for the principal to express their desires and make decisions. Once the principal is no longer with us, the POA cannot continue as there is no one to represent or make decisions for.

Settling an Estate After the Principal's Death

So, what happens after the principal's death? How do you handle their bank accounts, assets, and other belongings? These issues get resolved by settling the principal's estate. If the principal had a will, the executor or personal representative will be in charge of gathering the decedent's assets, paying their bills, taxes, and expenses, and then distributing the assets of the estate according to the provisions of the decedent's will. If there wasn't a will, then the state law takes precedence.

Bottom Line: POA Does Not Extend Beyond Death

The bottom line to the question of whether you can use a Power of Attorney to act on behalf of a deceased person is an unequivocal no. It's crucial to understand this aspect of estate planning to avoid any legal complications and unnecessary stress during an already challenging time.

How Peach State Wills & Trusts Can Help You

At Peach State Wills & Trusts, we're committed to ensuring your estate is handled in the smoothest possible manner after your passing. While Power of Attorney is an invaluable tool during your lifetime, we understand it doesn't provide a solution for distributing your assets posthumously. That's why we work closely with you to establish a comprehensive estate plan that encompasses all necessary components, including drafting a solid will or creating a trust, if beneficial.

We make it our mission to provide personalized legal counsel that aligns with your unique circumstances and needs. By assisting you in understanding the specifics of Georgia estate law, we can ensure your assets are distributed according to your wishes, reducing potential confusion or conflict among your loved ones after your passing. Our experienced team strives to make this often complex process as approachable and straightforward as possible.

Reach Out to Peach State Wills & Trusts for Georgia Estate Planning

The complexities of estate planning can be daunting. We at Peach State Wills & Trusts are here to help. Contact us at 678-344-5342 to learn how to plan for your estate in Georgia today.  We look forward to assisting you in safeguarding your future and your loved ones' well-being.

If you have any questions about estate planning in Georgia, you can download our free guide here, no strings attached.

About the Author

Joel Beck

Joel Beck founded The Beck Law Firm, LLC in 2007. His firm focused on business law and estate planning needs of clients, two areas that he was drawn to based upon personal and business experiences in his life, including a ten-year career at NASD (now known as FINRA).


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At Peach State Wills and Trusts, a division of The Beck Law Firm, LLC, we're committed to answering your questions about wills, trusts, powers of attorney, healthcare directives, uncontested probate, and business planning issues in Georgia.

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