What Are the Duties of the Power of Attorney During Probate?


Quick Answer

The duties that fall to an agent under a power of attorney end when the principal passes away, attorney Leana Hamill explains. The duties of an executor of a will has similar powers as a power of attorney, but an executor can't act upon those duties until the principal is deceased.

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Full Answer

It's possible for someone appointed as a power of attorney to be also appointed executor of the will, as Legal Zoom explains. While power-of-attorney documents are flexible, they don't address the administration of the principal's estate when the testator has passed away; only a will does that.

The powers granted to someone under a power of attorney are operable during a principal's lifetime, and they may include the authority to make medical decisions, purchase or sell real estate, or access bank accounts. The will outlines how the testator's assets should be divided after his death, explains Legal Zoom.

If the principal passes away without a will, the agent named as the power of attorney may petition the court to be appointed as the estate's personal representative. The probate court is under no legal obligation to appoint the agent as the personal representative, however, and it can appoint someone else as the representative, as Legal Zoom notes.

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