Do I still have his POA after he dies?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
A fellow caregiver asked...

My Uncle just died, and I am his POA and a sheriff came to my house to inform me that he just passed away. He said that the body has been moved without my knowledge. My question is if he passed away, why am I not his POA anymore? And is it legal for him to be moved after he passes without my knowledge? The hospital said that the coroner called to have him moved. Is that right?

Expert Answers

Steve Weisman hosts the nationally syndicated radio show A Touch of Grey, heard on more than 50 stations, including WABC in New York City and KRLA in Los Angeles. He is a practicing lawyer specializing in estate planning and is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court. He's a public speaker and commentator who has appeared on many radio and television shows throughout the country, and he's the legal editor of Talkers magazine, the preeminent trade publication of talk radio. His latest book is The Truth About Avoiding Scams.

The best way to think of how a Durable Power of Attorney works is that it permits someone to appoint someone else to act on their behalf. However, it is limited to acting on behalf of the person only while that person is alive. Once the person making the Durable Power of Attorney has died, the Durable Power of Attorney is no longer effective. At that point the Probate Court would need to appoint someone as executor or administrator of the person's estate in order to be authorized to act on behalf of the now dead person. As your uncle's agent under a Durable Power of Attorney,you did not have any particular right to be notified of his being moved after he died.