Can someone who has POA draw money out of bank accounts after the person dies?


Q: Can a son who is power of attorney draw money out of his dad's account after he dies? Dad did not name an executor for his will.

A: Upon the death of the "principal" (that is, the person signing the power of attorney), the power of attorney terminates. So the fact that the son was named as the "agent" (the person named to assist the principal) is of no further importance once the father dies. In order to access the bank account now, the son must either have been named as the POD ("pay on death") beneficiary, be the surviving joint owner of a jointly owned account, or be forced to go through a probate process.

If the father had a will but did not name an executor, the son can petition the local probate court to be appointed as the executor, which would then give him access to the account.

If for some reason the appointment of the son as executor is opposed by someone else who wishes to be the executor, the fact that the father named the son as agent under his power of attorney can be used to support the son's appointment.

More information on POA,wills and trusts:

The Difference Between a POA, Durable POA and Living Will

Why Should Every Senior Have a Will?

Information on Establishing a Trust

K. Gabriel Heiser is an elder law attorney and author of "How to Protect Your Family's Assets from Devastating Nursing Home Costs: Medicaid Secrets." Read his full biography

K. Gabriel Heiser is an attorney with over 25 years of experience in elder law and estate planning. He is the author of "How to Protect Your Family's Assets from Devastating Nursing Home Costs: Medicaid Secrets," an annually updated practical guide for the layperson.

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