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Short version is once the principle dies, you are no longer the POA. The responsibility now goes to the Executor who has to wait about 10 days to file the Will for probate. At that time he gets a short certificate saying he can handle the estate, banking accts and all. If no will, you can ask to be an Adminstrator, if the estate is under 20k (in NJ) you sign an affidavit and with both get a short certificate. I would say that the caregiver is going to have to wait to be paid. I would suggest she present a bill to whomever will be handling the estate.

I would use a lawyer for a Will. If money is a problem, then call Office of Aging and ask about legal aid.
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Kathie333 Mar 27, 2019
Thank you, I will do this.
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I’m answering based on the caregiver is needing to be paid & has presented you with a bill & there is $ in the now deceased account..... if you were a signatory on the now deceased checking account, I’d call the bank and speak with a bank officer; you tell them that you were the now deceased DPOA and were signatory on her bank account (believe me the bank officer will look this up in their system as you are on the phone with them, you don’t have to do this in person necessarily) and that it seems there are a few checks still not cashed but written on the account signed by you BEFORE death (you have at the ready the check #s and who to and amount of check and that they clearly are dated days before date of death) and your calling as you want to make sure there’s no problem for those checks clearing the account.

Usually bank will allow checks clearly written before death to be paid. But the caregiver needs to do this ASAP. And there has to $ in the bank to fully pay those checks on the account before DOD.

Banks do & will freeze a deceased account. But the account isn’t truly closed, it’s more like it’s red flagged.

Are you the named Executor as per the will? If so and you were on the account, you may be able to have it stay open and you use it and all those old checks as the estate of account. Your being signatory should have your SS# attached to account. It shoots over to your SS#. This is what we did for my mom / her estate. And it was the bank officer who suggested it. The checks had her name & mine on them.

The statement for the month that has cleared all checks writtten prior to DoD will be important as that end of mo balance will be a value entered for probate.

On the doing probate DIY, whether or not it’s feasible depends on your states laws for probate and imo what the “estate” is. I’ve been Executor 3 times and all with probate atty. I think to DIY probate isn’t a good idea unless you are very comfortable with how a courthouse runs and not flummoxed by doing filings.

On retrospect, of the 3, one could have been a DIY as this aunt had basically no bills, full funeral & burial preneed done, and owned her home & car outright, was current on taxes. Will had me as Executor as heir was in the military. Transferring titles to him probably could have been done as “muniment of title” probate action which had a $500 or so filing fee but you had to have all your paperwork on the house & car valid with whatever Release of Deed of Trust filed and cancellation of auto loan stamped document & house items filed onto the PPIN for land records and filed onto the docket in the sequence set by law for muniment. If right now your confused on what I just wrote, your imo not cut out to DIY this. Yeah I could have done it as I know how to do land searches & read a plat. But imho it’s just wiser to have a probate atty do what’s needed. Unless this is a big estate or there are sticky issues, probate should not be expensive, like $2-$3k. The attorney should be recognized by the court for that courts jurisdiction and atty has online filing and online notification on claims filed as well as whatever snail mail required to be mailed.

some states have set time as to by when probate MUST be opened after DOD. Some have set time for them to close by. Others allow for probate to stay open till forever.

If you anticipate any infighting from heirs, make that clear to attorneys you speak with when looking for your probate atty.. Litigation probate is speciality work; most probate guys do not do these.
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Kathie, regarding doing a Will on your own, I wouldn't recommend it. All it takes is one missing word or one misplaced word could create a major problem with the Will.

When a person passes, the Power of Attorney ends.... now it is up to the Executor of the Estate to take over. It is up to the Executor to pay the bills out of what money is left in the checking/savings account.

The only way you would be responsible for the love one who had passed is if you had co-signed for mortgage/rents, loans, credit cards.
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Kathie333 Mar 27, 2019
Thank you, I appreciate your advice.
Kathie
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POA ends at death. When a person dies their estate is responsible for paying any outstanding bills or debt from the assets in the estate.

If there is no money or other assets in the estate, then the bills/debt are not paid.

Wills are very special documents. Yes you can get a Will kit and do your own, but if there are any potential issues with your estate, fighting heirs, major assets to be sold or distributed, then a professional Will is a good idea.
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