Do you need a power of attorney if your spouse dies without will?
Do you need a power of attorney if your spouse dies without a will? How much control does a spouse have without any legal papers?
The power of a power of attorney ends when the person for whom it was made dies, so will be of no help in managing affairs, getting access to money and accounts, or transferring property when a spouse dies.
Unless a spouse is a joint tenant to the property, as is often the case on the title to a house or on a bank account, he or she will have no real rights to control the other spouse's property when he or she dies. For that kind of control, you need to look into some basic estate planning arrangements, such as joint tenancy, pay-on-death, living trusts and wills.
For more information, see Estate Planning Basics.