Why do I have to transfer my POA for my mother to be buried?

4 answers | Last updated: Oct 08, 2016
Sandraabt13 asked...

I have medical power of attorney for my mother. She passed away today and will be transported from Texas to Illinois where her cemetery plot next to my father is. I will not be making the trip. My sister in Illinois will be handling the funeral arrangements. She has called me and stated that the funeral home states that I must transfer the medical power of attorney to her or I must be present to make the funeral arrangements. Why upon death does a medical power of attorney need to be transferred to an out of state sibling to make funeral arrangements? Please help soon. Thank you.

Expert Answers

Rebekah Peoples, CFSP, CPC, Is a licensed funeral director and embalmer. She is passionate about serving others and believes that giving clients honest, accurate information empowers them to create tributes and services that are meaningful and appropriate. Her tips about funerals and life can be found at www.funeral411.com.

Please accept my condolences to you in the loss of your mother. As far as I know, medical POA and funeral arrangements are not codependent. It should not be a requirement that because you are the medical POA, you are responsible solely for the funeral arrangements. Your sister should be able to make the arrangements. I know of no reason why you have to be present. If the funeral home insists on this, call them and tell them that you and your sister are in agreement on the arrangements that consist of .... Then list exactly what you and your sister have agreed the services will be.

In today's technology-centered world, funeral arrangements are frequently made via email, phone, and fax. If this funeral home does not seem willing to work with you on this, I would suggest that you or your sister call around and ask other funeral homes if they would require you to be there in person. I'm guessing that you'll find they won't require that.

I know this is a time sensitive issue so please feel free to email me if I can be of further help. wecare@funeral411.com

Community Answers

Cjmarley answered...

My husband died and was cremated on the opposite end of the US from me. Being the next of kin they required my signature on the paperwork, but his parents handled all the planning. The crematorium faxed me the papers, I signed and faxed them back. That was all that was needed.

Natash answered...

I almost positive that the medical POA or durable POA loose that power as soon as the person is deceased. After the person takes their last breathe, then the administrator of her estate would make all of those decisions. I'm sorry for the loss of your mother.

Not2zen answered...

I concur with the comments by Natash. In Wisconsin this is certainly true and I believe that in most other states this is also the legal status of those particular documents - they cease to be effective as of the death of the 'ward'. No further checks or withdrawals should be made from any account of the decedent. And the funeral home should then be only taking orders from the "closest" heir-at-law or the administrator of the estate, though I've seen them allow others to set up the funeral and even sign contracts. However this leaves them open to the possiblity of litigation.