Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in Oklahoma

Does Durable Power of Attorney stay in effect after death ?

My wife and I are/were DPOA for a lady who just passed away. We asked her attorney if we should pay her final expenses from her checking account as we have been doing for almost 2 years. He said to carry on as usual and to pay her bills as if she were still living. We did so and I notified the bank that she had passed on so they would need to send her retirement back when it was direct deposited. Then today we get a notice in the mail from her & our bank (one & the same)that her account is frozen & they are going to return the check we wrote to Wal-Mart to buy $22.00 worth of items to bury her with. Incedentally, we are her sole heirs. She only has $200 in the bank. It was our understanding that the Durable Power of Attorney carries on even after death. Her attorney told us to write the checks that we did & now the bank tells us we had no right to do so. I hope I have given enough information.

Thanks in advance.

Asked on 4/28/06, 7:25 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Kurt Kennedy Kurt M. Kennedy,Attorney at Law

Re: Does Durable Power of Attorney stay in effect after death ?

Many people don't fully understand the limits of a DPOA. Quite simply, a DPOA, just like any other POA, becomes ineffective upon the death of the Principal. Therefor, The Attorney in Fact is no longer authorized to act after the death of the Principal.

Unless the Principal placed her property in a trust, you will need the permission of the probate court to gain access to her estate to pay her bills and funeral expenses.

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Answered on 4/29/06, 2:44 pm

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