What are my rights to my father’s properties after he passed without a will but has given my sister the power of attorney? 41 Answers as of September 27, 2012

My father was in the hospital several weeks ago and my sister was given power of attorney. He has just passed. He owned his mobile home. I just found out she filed paperwork to have her name added to the title/ownership. He also owns a truck with no payments. He had a life insurance policy. She is not involving me on anything.

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The Taylor Law Office L.L.C.
The Taylor Law Office L.L.C. | Ian A. Taylor
A power of attorney has no value or effect after the principal dies. An agent under a power of attorney should have no power to make any decisions regarding the estate. After death a personal representative will need to be appointed by the Probate Court. In the case where there may be disagreements between heirs, it is recommended to file with the Probate Court for their supervision and advice. Children will split an estate evenly if there is no spouse and no will under the laws of SC. Please seek an attorney or the advice of the court.
Answer Applies to: South Carolina
Replied: 9/27/2012
Blough Law Office | Janis L. Blough
Without a will, heirs of the same degree you and your sister share equally. If your sister does not open an estate you can petition to do so. The power of attorney expired when your father passed, so your sister has no more authority than you have. Try to meet with her and discuss matters calmly you may be able to file an expedited estate matter because of the limited assets. Better yet, hire an experienced attorney to speak to her for you.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 9/19/2012
Victor Varga | Victor Varga
The POA became ineffective upon his passing, so your mother and siblings are all heirs and entitled to ownership of any property he owned. She cannot use a POA after he died.
Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 9/19/2012
Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
You have rights under the laws of intestate succession. You may have to go to court to enforce them.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 9/20/2012
The Law Office of Eric J Smith
The Law Office of Eric J Smith | Eric Smith
A power of attorney is not valid after the death of the principle. If your sister uses it after death to transfer property on your father's behalf she is committing fraud. However, if she added her name to the title during your father's lifetime, there may be little you can do unless you can prove that was not your father's intent. Speaking at least to Texas Law, if you are concerned you are being denied your rightful inheretance, file your own application for probate in the probate court where your father resided.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 9/18/2012
    Asset Protection and Elder Law Center
    Asset Protection and Elder Law Center | Shadi Alai-Shaffer
    Seek a consult from an attorney as soon as possible as you have rights as his heir.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/14/2012
    Benjamin D Gordon, Attorney at Law
    Benjamin D Gordon, Attorney at Law | Benjamin D Gordon
    Power of attorney terminates with death. If she transfered the assets while he was still alive, however, those transfers will be valid, and very little you can do. If she is doing things with the power of attorney after his death, those transactions are impropper and can be voided.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 9/18/2012
    Law Offices of Gerald A. Bagazinski
    Law Offices of Gerald A. Bagazinski | Gerald A. Bagazinski
    The power of attorney is no longer valid after a person dies. If the individual used the power of attorney to put property in her name, this is self dealing and a violation of her fiduciary duties. You should contact an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/18/2012
    Richard E. Damon, PC | Richard E. Damon
    Uh oh. The power of attorney lapsed once your father passed, but actions your sister took pursuant to the power of attorney might be upheld by the court. Of course, the purpose of the power of attorney was to take care of your father's expenses, not to make gifts to your sister. You should consult an attorney about your rights.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/17/2012
    James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C.
    James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C. | James T. Weiner
    The power of attorney expired when he died.. You have a right to an equal share of the estate if he did not have a will. Please contact an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/17/2012
    Irsfeld, Irsfeld & Younger LLP | Norman H. Green
    A power of attorney is of no force or effect after death of the principal. If your father had only the two children and was not married at the time of his death, then you each are entitled to half.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/17/2012
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law | Charles M. Schiff
    Assuming that you and your sister are the only children of decedent, you are entitled to one-half his estate. The question arising relative to the mobile home is the status of ownership at the time of death. If your father and your sister are named as joint owners, the mobile home may not be a probate asset. It may go directly to the surviving joint owner. This is something you need to determine in advance.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 9/17/2012
    Law Office of Patricia A. Simmons
    Law Office of Patricia A. Simmons | Patrica A Simmons
    The power of attorney was terminated upon your father's death. Do you know when your sister made these transfers? Unfortunately, when a power of attorney is given to another, the agent, has complete control over that person's financial affairs. This is a prime example why everyone should have a will or other estate plan prior to becoming incapacitated. You may ask your sister to account for your father's funds and other assets.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/17/2012
    Danville Law Group | Scott Jordan
    I am sorry for your loss. Your sister is very likely guilty of financial elder abuse. Adding her name to title removed the mobile home from the probate estate and a judge can order it returned to the estate. The truck is subject to probate. The life insurance will pay out according to the beneficiary list your father filed with the company and is not usually part of the probate estate. As for involvement, you can file for probate administration powers with the local county court and assume control of all of the financial decisions. You may want to discuss this with a local probate attorney first.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/17/2012
    Law Offices of Michael N. Stafford | Michael N. Stafford
    The power of attorney terminates upon your father's death. You should consult with an attorney to determine your rights and remedies.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/17/2012
    Frederick & Frederick PLC | James P Frederick
    At this point, your sister has not legal rights. The POA terminates upon death. If she added herself to the title, that was a breach of fiduciary duties and she could have problems if you take it to court. I would suggest that you try to contact her and see if you can work this out. A letter would probably be best. If she refuses to respond, then a letter from an attorney would be the next step.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/17/2012
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Dara Goldsmith
    Once he is deceased the power of attorney is no longer valid. With regard to any transfers during life, you need to speak with an attorney to discuss your rights. Important factors include the type of power of attorney she had, his capacity at the time he made the power of attorney and the actions that she took. The facts are very important here. Each case presents different facts. You should consult with an attorney in the State where your father resided.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 9/17/2012
    Law Offices of Frances Headley | Frances Headley
    The power of attorney is no longer valid. His property will pass by intestate succession which provides for property to be divided equally among the children when there is no spouse.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/17/2012
    The Schreiber Law Firm
    The Schreiber Law Firm | Jeffrey D. Schreiber
    The Power Of Attorney terminated at the death of your father. After that, she has no power at all to do anything and cannot sign any documents for him as there is no longer any right to do so. If she started the paperwork on the mobile home before his death, her acts under a Power Of Attorney MUST be for your father's benefit, not hers, and if she did it for her, then she has breached her duty to her father under the Power Of Attorney and can be sued for breach of fiduciary duty. If there is no will, then the intestacy laws of the state where you father lived will control to distribute his property. Although it may vary from state too state, generally it goes to the spouse, and if there is no spouse, to his children equally. The life insurance goes to whomever was listed as the beneficiary in the policy.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/17/2012
    Masson Law Office
    Masson Law Office | Robin Abrahamson Masson
    Once your father died, the Power of Attorney became void. You or your sister or other sibling need to file in Surrogate's Court to be appointed Administratrix of his estate, which has significant responsibilities, including marshaling all of his assets, paying all of his debts, and distributing the rest among his children.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 9/17/2012
    Skillern Law Firm
    Skillern Law Firm | Penni Skillern
    A durable power of attorney is effective during the lifetime of the principle, or person who made the power of attorney. The authority of the power of attorney ends at the death of the incapacitated principle. An executor named in the will or appointed by the probate court is the person who takes care of the deceased property, and they receive that authority from the probate court. Therefore, your sister is exceeding her authority, and I would advise getting an attorney to start the probate process and fight for your rights as an heir.
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 9/17/2012
    Law Office Of Victor Waid
    Law Office Of Victor Waid | Victor Waid
    You are entitled to one half of his property or its value, and a share of the of insurance policy if you were named as one of the beneficiaries.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/17/2012
    Lisa L. Hogreve, LC | Lisa L. Hogreve
    After a person dies, the Power of Attorney is no longer effective. It is unclear if your sister did something to transfer interest in real or personal property while your father was still alive, using her Power of Attorney. Depending on the circumstances, such transfers may be voidable. You should speak to an attorney about your rights to share in your father's estate.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 9/17/2012
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    If your mother is not alive, the children would share equally in your dad's estate. You can file a complaint with the court concerning the title revision. The life insurance would transfer per the beneficiary designation.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 9/17/2012
    Carmen B. Marquez, PC | Carmen B. Marquez
    Once your father passed away, the power of attorney has no power. If he left no will you and your sister are his heir and would divide anything left in his estate between the two of you. However, if she made those transfers while he was alive with a valid power of attorney, those items might already be hers.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/17/2012
    Neal M. Rimer, Esquire
    Neal M. Rimer, Esquire | Neal M. Rimer
    Have you talked to you sister? What is her intent? Notwithstanding the issues with your sister, a power of attorney has NO effect after a death. Also, a person holding a power of attorney can breach their fiduciary duty by taking assets of the principal. It sounds like you need to retain an attorney at this time and avoid future litigation if possible. Without a Will, your father's property would go equally to his kids. A probate may be required.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/17/2012
    Law Offices of Charles R. Perry
    Law Offices of Charles R. Perry | Charles R. Perry
    First of all, I am sorry for the loss of your father. I assume that your father was not married at the time he passed away. In this case, his property would pass in equal shares to his children. The exception would be the life insurance policy. That policy would have a beneficiary statement, and the proceeds of that policy would pass to whoever was named the beneficiary. You will need to consult with a lawyer to help you understand your rights, and how you can settle your differences with your sister. Your sister may have acted improperly in putting her name on the title for the mobile home. Best of luck to you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/17/2012
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    You need to see an attorney with the details. IT appears your sister is acting improperly from your rendition of the facts.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/17/2012
    Horn & Johnsen SC
    Horn & Johnsen SC | Dera L. Johnsen-Tracy
    A power of attorney has no effect after death. With regard to life insurance, the company will pay the death proceeds directly to the named beneficiary or beneficiaries. If your sister was the sole beneficiary named on the policy, then she can claim the death proceeds and has no legal obligation to share them with you. With regard to the mobile home and truck, if the total value of your father's assets (excluding assets titled jointly with another person, or assets that transferred pursuant to beneficiary or payable on death designations) is less than $50,000, then your sister can sign an affidavit transferring the assets to herself on behalf of your father's estate. However, she would have a legal obligation to distribute these assets among your father's heirs. If he was unmarried, then the assets should be distributed to his children, in equal shares. If your sister refuses to disclose information regarding your father's assets, then you may wish to speak with a probate attorney regarding your options.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 9/14/2012
    Leonard A. Kaanta, P.C. | Leonard A. Kaanta
    The power of attorney died with your father, you need to file a for the probate of an intestate estate. Insurance proceeds go to the beneficary not the estate.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/14/2012
    Richard J. Keyes Attorney at Law | Richard J. Keyes
    A financial power of attorney in Missouri is void upon death. Therefore, if your sister used it after your father's death, all her actions taken subsequent to your father's death are void. You need to get the power of attorney and read through it. Normally, the attorney in fact, your sister, has to treat everyone equally. Therefore, she should not be able to put her name on the title to the truck or the mobile home unless there is language the allows her to change beneficiary designations to her own benefit.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 9/14/2012
    O'Keefe Legal Services, L.L.C.
    O'Keefe Legal Services, L.L.C. | Sean P. O'Keefe
    In Maryland, the titleholder (check deeds/title certificates) or personal representative for your father's estate should have the rights to hold and manage his properties after his death. A power of attorney is only effective during the life of the principal, so unless your sister is titled on the deed/title to the property or she is the personal representative, she may not have authority to control his property after your father's death. If your sister has proper authority, she may have transferred ownership rights to herself while your father was alive (for the mobile home and vehicle), and she may be a designated beneficiary on the life insurance policy. You should check your county's register of wills office to see if a probate estate has been opened, and if a personal representative has been appointed (though you probably would have had notice). You may be able to petition to become the personal representative because your father did not name one in a will.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 9/14/2012
    Sebby Law Office
    Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
    The estate of a person who dies intestate (without a will) is subject to the laws of the state in which he or she resided at the time of death. Your sister's power of attorney ended at the moment of your father's death. Check with an attorney in your state about how to get an executor or personal representative assigned to your father's estate to pay the bills, distribute the assets, and close the estate.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 9/14/2012
    The DeRose Lawfirm | Peter J. DeRose
    You need to open an intestate probate estate as quickly as you can. If you have yourself appointed as personal representative you can control and preserve the assets. The power of attorney ceases effectiveness on death. In the probate estate the laws of intestacy (dying without a will) will be applied. This is a classic example of why everyone needs an effective estate plan-even for a simple estate. Hire the most experienced attorney you can afford and get started immediately, before property is sold.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/14/2012
    Martinson & Beason, PC
    Martinson & Beason, PC | Douglas C Martinson II
    If he died without a will, then his estate would be divided under the law of Alabama of which you and your sister would take the property (assuming he was not married at the time of his death). If you sister used the PoA to transfer all of the property to her before your father died, there would be no property in his probate estate as that would pass to her outside of the probate law. However, a person with a PoA cannot transfer property to themselves. It would violate her fiduciary duties to your father and to her. But you would have to file an action alleging the violations of her duties. Best way to do that is for you to file to be the Administrator of the Estate (I assume he had not will) and then to sue your sister for the return of the property. You would need to hire an attorney and most likely pay a retainer. Good luck with the case!
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 9/17/2012
    Law Offices of Maxwell Charles Livingston
    Law Offices of Maxwell Charles Livingston | Maxwell C Livingston
    You have a right to a portion of that as a blood heir.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 9/14/2012
    Olson Law Firm | Edward M Olson
    The power of attorney applies only while your father is alive. Upon his death, the power of attorney is cancelled. If there is no will and you are certain that there are only two children. Then you both have equal rights in everything. After all your father's bills are paid.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/14/2012
    THE BROOME LAW FIRM, LLC
    THE BROOME LAW FIRM, LLC | Barry D. Broome
    It is unlawful to use a power of attorney for personal gain. The power of attorney ends at the death of the giver. It appears, with the information you have provided, that your sister is breaking the law. Even without a Last Will & Testament the law has provided a Will for the deceased. Your revenue of correction can be done by filing either an action in Superior court or in Probate court.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 9/14/2012
    Neil J. Lehto, Esq.
    Neil J. Lehto, Esq. | Neil J. Lehto
    In Michigan, you are an heir to your father's entire, shared equally with your sister. His death rendered the power of attorney ineffective as a matter of law. If she is trying to take his entire estate, you must immediately open an estate administration in the probate court for the county where he resided when he died or, as a practical matter, she may get everything.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/14/2012
    Edward L. Armstrong, P.C. | Edward L. Armstrong
    The authority granted to your sister by your father's power of attorney expired the moment he died so that any activity she did after is death should be set aside.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 9/14/2012
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