Can my power of attorney get my assets when I pass away without a Will?

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Can my power of attorney get my assets when I pass away without a Will?

I have a power of attorney and I want to leave her everything when I’m gone. However, I’m too sick to get to a lawyer and financially hurting to pay to get a Will done. What should I do?

Asked on November 15, 2016 under Estate Planning, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, a power of attorney terminates when the person granting it (the "principal") passes away; to put it bluntly, the power dies when the person does. ONLY a will can control what happens to your assets after you die; if you pass away without a will, your assets will distributed according to the rules for "intestate succession," or who gets what when there is no will. Non-family do not inherit under intestate succession, so if the person you gave the power to (the "agent" or "attorney-in-fact") is not immediate family (e.g. spouse; child) and you want her to inherit,  you will have to draft a will.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, a power of attorney terminates when the person granting it (the "principal") passes away; to put it bluntly, the power dies when the person does. ONLY a will can control what happens to your assets after you die; if you pass away without a will, your assets will distributed according to the rules for "intestate succession," or who gets what when there is no will. Non-family do not inherit under intestate succession, so if the person you gave the power to (the "agent" or "attorney-in-fact") is not immediate family (e.g. spouse; child) and you want her to inherit,  you will have to draft a will.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, a power of attorney terminates when the person granting it (the "principal") passes away; to put it bluntly, the power dies when the person does. ONLY a will can control what happens to your assets after you die; if you pass away without a will, your assets will distributed according to the rules for "intestate succession," or who gets what when there is no will. Non-family do not inherit under intestate succession, so if the person you gave the power to (the "agent" or "attorney-in-fact") is not immediate family (e.g. spouse; child) and you want her to inherit,  you will have to draft a will.


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