If my wife is power of attorney for her mother’s estate and her mother just passed away, what all needs to be attended to legally?

UPDATED: Jun 5, 2012

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If my wife is power of attorney for her mother’s estate and her mother just passed away, what all needs to be attended to legally?

We have the coroner and funeral home taken care of. I know we need a death certificate but do I need that first to go forward?

Asked on June 5, 2012 under Estate Planning, Illinois


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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  You need to know that a Power of Attorney dies with the person for whom it is in place (called the principal or your Mother in law here) so the POA is no longer valid.  What your wife needs to do is to be appointed as the personal representative of her mother's estate.  Once appointed then the LEtters Testamentary (if there is a Will) or Letters of Administration (if there is no Will) will give her the power to act.  She will need to gather assets and debt and give notice to creditors and beneficiaries.  9 months after her death she will need to file estate tax returns.  Good luck.

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