Can a Power of Attorney Cash a Check After Death?

An Image of a Cheque
Can a Power of Attorney Cash a Check After Death. Photo Source (Freepik)

After someone’s death, the authority of a power of attorney (POA) usually ends, and financial matters shift to the executor or administrator of the estate.

Any attempts by the POA to write checks after the principal’s death may be invalid, and legal advice should be sought to ensure compliance with local regulations.

The article will explain why a power of attorney cannot cash a check after a principal’s death.

 

Can a Power of Attorney Cash a Check After Death?

No, the person who has power of attorney can’t cash checks for someone who has passed away.

Once the person dies, the document giving this power becomes invalid.

Consequently, the authority granted by the power of attorney no longer holds.

After someone dies, the person with power of attorney can’t:

  • Take money from the bank
  • Write checks on behalf of the deceased
  • Handle tax returns for the person who passed away
  • Cash any social security checks
  • Get money from life insurance checks that are meant to be paid after death
  • Open a safe deposit box
  • Manage or access checking accounts
  • Write checks for medical bills or debts

How Can A Power Of Attorney Cash Checks After Death?

The power of attorney can only cash checks after someone’s death in specific situations:

  1. If they have a joint checking account with the deceased person.
  2. If they are the surviving spouse with joint accounts and rights of survivorship.
  3. If the deceased named them as the executor of the estate in their will.
  4. If they are a joint owner in a business (like real estate businesses).
  5. If the probate courts have appointed them to handle the estate administration.

Let’s say you’re the power of attorney and you need to cash checks after the person’s death.

The checking accounts now belong to the estate.

To cash checks, you need to:

  1. Open probate by filing the death certificate and will at the local probate courts.
  2. Petition the probate courts to start the probate process.
  3. Get appointed as the personal representative of the estate.
  4. Pay off debts to the estate (like credit cards, healthcare bills, etc.).
  5. Distribute the remaining funds to the beneficiaries.

If the deceased person didn’t plan their estate or have a living will, you can request to be the estate administrator in which you can cash checks after their death.

To do this:

  1. Obtain a copy of the death certificate.
  2. Take it to the deceased person’s financial institution.
  3. Have them write a check to the estate.
  4. Open an estate account for the probate process.
  5. Deposit the estate funds into the estate account.

Once you’ve completed these steps, you can then proceed to cash checks on behalf of the deceased person’s estate.

Conclusion

After someone dies, the person who had the power of attorney can’t handle their money anymore.

If they try to cash checks, it might not be allowed, and they should get legal advice.

There are some special cases, like if they shared a bank account or were named in a will.

To cash checks in these cases, they need to go through a legal process called probate, which involves sorting out debts and giving money to the right people.

It’s important to follow the rules to do this correctly.