Is Power of Attorney Still Valid After Death?

Many people think that by granting Power of Attorney to a family member or loved one will ensure that no matter what happens, someone, you trust has been chosen to handle all of your affairs in the event that you cannot make a decision on your own. While there is some truth to this, many people are not aware that Power of Attorney ends after death.


For example, if an individual has a Power of Attorney document drawn up to grant her sister the ability to make legal decisions on her behalf, that power only lasts as long as the individual is still living. Power of Attorney does not grant the sister any power to make decisions after her sibling has passed away, which means the sister doesn't have a legal foundation for making decisions about a final disposition such as burial or cremation.

A Common Myth About Power of Attorney and Final Arrangements

One common misconception is that granting Power of Attorney to a loved one will allow that person to handle your final arrangements. However, Power of Attorney actually ceases upon passing. This can lead to a variety of problems, the main one being that no one was officially chosen to make decisions about your final arrangements.


How Can You Properly Grant Someone the Right to Make Final Decisions?

Not everyone wants their next of kin to have the final say when it comes to funeral, burial or cremation arrangements, though. Perhaps you simply disagree with that person on what the best final disposition is.

And some people pass away without a clear next of kin — either because they don't have any family or the family structure is complex enough that determining next of kin could result in a legal battle.


You can specify that you want someone specific to handle any final arrangements. You would do so in your will or other estate planning documents, so if this is of interest to you, talk to an estate lawyer about your options. You can also record some of your wishes about final arrangements in your estate plan.

The Best Way to Protect Your Preferences for Final Arrangements

One downside to planning for your final disposition in your estate documents is that they might be read or processed too late to make a difference. In some cases, your family might move forward with burial or other arrangements as a will is being contested.


The best way to protect your preferences for final arrangements is actually to handle them yourself. You can do this through funeral preplanning.


At All County Funeral Home & Crematory, we work with individuals to preplan final arrangements. We can help you create a solid plan now, and we'll work alongside your loved ones in a caring, compassionate manner to enact that plan when the time of need arrives. For more information on preplanning, contact us today.


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