The rights to assets

My father died a month ago. His brother-in-law had the power of attorney since my stepmother died almost 2 years ago.This is what I’m told,have not ever seen anything in writinganyway,since my step mother died her brother has sold their home and what ever else he could that they had. My father was living in a rehab center at the time and continued to live there until his death. My question is this..I have not received any information on any of my fathers assets that remain other than a call I received from his 401K company wanting to know the date of my stepmother’s death,does the power of attorney give the brother in law rights to all of what would be left of my father’s? My sister and I had to sign the papers to allow for the cremation but have not heard from anyone since the funeral home contacted the brother-in-law and not me. From what I have read, the power of attorney is void as soon as the person has died so I’m confused at why I’m not hearing from anyone. Does the brother-in-law have rights to anything that my father had left as assets? I know of the 401K and I’m sure there is a small life insurance policy,,and I’m sure there is money left from the sell of the home.I just don’t want my sister and myself to miss out on what maybe should be ours,we already had nothing to do with the home,cars and the furnishings of the home.Does this sound like things are being done correctly? Thank you for any help you can offer. Robin Jones

Asked on October 22, 2017 under Estate Planning, Utah

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss and for the situation as it stands.  You and your sister need legal help here. This can get complicated but manageable step by step. First, you are correct that once a person for whom the POA is encated dies, the POA dies as well.  So your Uncle has no power anymore with that document.  Was there a Will?  If there was and there are assets left then you would be required to be noticed when it was offered for probate.  That is true as well if a petition was filed in Intestacy - no Will - sicne you are your Dad's legal heirs.  You are goi g to ask for an "accounting" of his transactions and the funds while he was POA.  That is very important.  He has a fiduciary duty under the law.  I would ask for a copy of the POA as well.  Get help.  Good luck.


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