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Did You Know Power of Attorney Expires at Death?

Did you know power of attorney authority expires at death in Texas? Find out how the power of attorney role changes and who steps in to manage affairs.
Power of Attorney
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If you were to become incapacitated who would make decisions on your behalf? It’s not something most people want to think about, but none the less it’s important. An accident can happen at any time, and decisions might have to be made quickly. 

There are a few people who could step in a make decisions for you, and a person with power of attorney is in that group. Power of attorney technically refers to legal documentation that names an agent with the authority to make decisions for someone who has become incapacitated. 

Every state has their own definitions and parameters for power of attorney. If you or a loved one lives in Texas here are a few important things to know when power of attorney has been granted.

Power of Attorney in Texas 

In Texas the Estates Code establishes laws and limitations for power of attorney. It establishes that: “A person may use a statutory durable power of attorney to grant an attorney in fact or agent powers with respect to a person’s property and financial matters.”

The person who assigns a power of attorney is known as the principle. The principle can put limitations to a power of attorney’s authority, or even specify a time when the power of attorney arrangement will end. 

The state also imposes regulations and limitations on power of attorney, some of which effect when power of attorney applies.

Power of Attorney Expiration 🙅

The Texas Estates Code explains what statutory durabable power of attorney authority includes and when that authority ends. There are several events that can cause power of attorney to end, including the death of the principle. When the principle dies the power of attorney document automatically becomes null and void. At that time the power of attorney agent won’t have access to financial accounts and won’t necessarily have a say in what happens to the estate.

What Happens When Power of Attorney Expires After a Death

Sometimes the power of attorney agent ends up still making decisions after a person’s death, but that depends on if there’s a will and who is named executor. If a will exists whoever is named the executor or co-executor is in charge of managing the deceased’s estate. However, this involves carrying out the directives of the will, not making decisions on behalf of the deceased. This is one of the key differences between a power of attorney agent and an executor. 

Right of disposition, who takes possession of real estate and all other financial matters should be spelled out in the will. The executor simply makes sure it gets done and that the probate process is followed. 

But what happens if there’s not a will? Does the power of attorney agent automatically become the executor? 

When a person dies without a will or didn’t name an executor for their will you can petition the probate court to be named the administrator of the estate. The administrator is like the executor except if a will doesn’t exist the administrator must follow probate rules for handling finances and distributing assests to beneficiaries. 

Having been a power of attorney agent for a deceased loved one helps your case if you have to petition the probate court. But if anyone else petitions the court to be the administrator the probate court will decide who to appoint based on a number of criteria. Something that will be considered is legal next of kin. 

🙋👫Legal next of kin in Texas can be any of the persons listed below with priority given in the order listed:

  • Individuals who possess right to disposition assigned by the decedent. (Right to disposition means deciding how the body will be disposed and making funeral arrangement decisions.)
  • Surviving Spouse
  • Adult Children
  • Parents
  • Siblings
  • Duly qualified Executors or Administrators of the Estate
  • Any adult person in the next degree of kinship in the order named by law to inherit the estate of the decedent.

There’s a lot to manage when a loved one passes away if you possess right to disposition or are an executor. One of our top priorities at Green Cremation Texas is easing the burden for families by facilitating the entire cremation process from start to finish. All it takes is one short conversation and we’ll be able to make all the arrangements for you from transport to our crematory to getting copies of the death certificate

Give us a call, text or email any time of day to get assistance making funeral arrangements.

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Marlaena Gonzales

Funeral Director
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