Can the executor close a bank account? 13 Answers as of December 30, 2011

Do I have to have a death certificate to open a bank account if I have the power of attorney?

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Martin Barnes - Attorney at Law
Martin Barnes - Attorney at Law | Martin Barnes
Once a Will has been proved (submitted for probate) and the Probate Court has issued Letters Testamentary an executor can close a bank account. If you have questions regarding the rights and duties of an executor then my advice is to meet with and Attorney who can help guide you through the Probate process, and can help you avoid missteps that could become problematic. The authority you had as power of attorney was terminated upon the death of the individual granting that authority.
Answer Applies to: Indiana
Replied: 12/30/2011
Ashman Law Office
Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
If someone died, his power of attorney died with him. It's void.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 12/27/2011
Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law
Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law | Charles M. Schiff
A Power of Attorney is only effective during the lifetime of the Principal. Once he/she dies, the holder of the Power of Attorney has no authority. From the date of death, no one has authority to act on behalf of the estate unless appointed by a court or court administrator. An executor (Personal Representative), does have such authority.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 12/27/2011
The Schreiber Law Firm
The Schreiber Law Firm | Jeffrey D. Schreiber
If the power of attorney was from the deceased, the power of attorney was no longer valid after their death. After death, the executor or administer of the estate has the power to act with regards to the property of the deceased.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/27/2011
Glojek Ltd | Joseph E. Redding
Power of attorney is worthless upon death. The personal representative can close a bank account and move the funds to an estate account.
Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
Replied: 12/27/2011
    Bullivant Houser Bailey PC
    Bullivant Houser Bailey PC | Darin Christensen
    A power of attorney ceases to have any legal effect as soon as the maker dies. To deal with the account legally, you should be an account signer, the named pay on death beneficiary, the court appointed executor (being named in the will does not give you any authority until it is probated), or file a small estate affidavit if the estate is small enough.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 12/27/2011
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C.
    Minor, Bandonis and Haggerty, P.C. | Brian Haggerty
    If the principle has passed away, your power of attorney is no longer in force. In order to deal with the decedent's bank accounts, you need to be appointed personal representative (executor is the old term) and present the bank with a death certificate and your Letters Testamentary (issued by the court).
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 12/27/2011
    Law Office of J. Brian Thomas
    Law Office of J. Brian Thomas | J. Brian Thomas
    Powers of Attorney are terminated by the death of the principal. After that person dies, a Power of Attorney should neither be used or accepted. An executor, administrator or personal representative of the decedent's estate, has the authority to act with respect to an account owned by the decedent. In virtually every case, this person must actually be appointed (by the Court) to this position. Many individuals believe that this authority simply springs from the Will itself, without the Court's involvement, and they are wrong. Once appointed, the executor will typically need to show proof of his or her appointment to the third-party (like a bank). Letters Testamentary are routinely issued by the Clerk to demonstrate evidence of this appointed authority, and these Letters are typically all that is required, although some financial institutions might also request a Death Certificate.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 12/27/2011
    James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law
    James Oberholtzer, Attorney at Law | James Oberholtzer
    I am assuming that you are in Oregon and that Oregon law applies. Your question does not make sense as you have stated it. Death revokes all agency including powers of appointment. If the grantor of your power of appointment died, the power of appointment is no longer effective. If the person who died left a Will, you may be nominated as the personal representative in the Will. If so, you can probate the Will and be appointed the personal representative by the court or prepare a small estate affidavit if the estate is not composed of too much in assets and is simple enough.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 12/27/2011
    Neighborhood Law Office, P.C.
    Neighborhood Law Office, P.C. | Jim Underhill
    If the estate is for a person who passed, the power of attorney granted by the person when they were living is now void. In order to act as the personal representative (executor) in Colorado you have to obtain letters of appointment from the probate court. That requires that you file a probate action and have yourself appointed PR. In most estates, you can file a simple or small, informal, probate action. The best bet is to find a good lawyer who provides advice on this kind of issue on a regular basis and review your specific facts; the lawyer will be able to give you an analysis of the law and your options. By the way, some attorneys sell "unbundled" or "limited" legal services where you pay for just what you need and can afford. For example, some attorneys will prepare letters for you to sign, legal documents, or sell the paperwork for the court filings; then you can proceed on your own, but knowing that your paperwork is correct and having a road map as to how to proceed. Or who will attend a hearing for a flat fee even if they are not handling the whole case.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 12/27/2011
    THE BROOME LAW FIRM, LLC
    THE BROOME LAW FIRM, LLC | Barry D. Broome
    The authority given by a Power of Attorney ends when the party granting the power dies. Therefore, the agent holding the power has no authority once the maker is dead. Upon an individuals death the Last Will & Testament becomes the authority. The Executor is appointed by the court and that person has the authority to settle the estate of the deceased. He or she may close all accounts, open an account for the benefit of the estate and transact all business for the estate.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 12/27/2011
    Donaldson Stewart, PC
    Donaldson Stewart, PC | Monica H. Donaldson Stewart
    A power of attorney expires upon the death of the Principal (the person who nominated you as the agent). After the death of Principal, someone would need to be named as the Personal Representative ("executor") of the estate in order to have authority to gather and distribute the assets. I recommend you speak with a probate attorney who can assist you in determining your best course of action.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 12/27/2011
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