When Does a Power of Attorney End?

Learn when a Power Of Attorney ends and how it affects legal and financial matters from an expert's perspective.

When Does a Power of Attorney End?

Regardless of when the document comes into effect, all powers of attorney end with the death of the principal. In some cases, the power of attorney will be automatically extinguished. You can also include an expiration date on the document to have it end at a certain time. Additionally, if your spouse is your agent and a divorce is filed, the power of attorney will be finalized automatically.

Finally, when your agent learns of your death, the power of attorney will automatically end. A power of attorney is considered durable if it establishes that it is not affected by the principal's disability. Without this specific language, the power of attorney ends when the director is unable to make decisions due to mental or physical disabilities. However, if the agent does not have actual notice of the principal's incapacity, actions taken in good faith on behalf of the principal are legal and binding.

A standard power of attorney gives the agent the authority to act on behalf of the principal in day-to-day legal and financial matters. The standard power of attorney expires when the principal dies, becomes incapacitated, or revokes the written power of attorney. Therefore, once your loved one dies, the power of attorney document is essentially useless and does not give you or any other person authority to act on behalf of your deceased loved one. Your loved one can no longer own any property, so you can't handle any matters related to that property because he or she can no longer manage it.

The law does not allow for a power of attorney to be used after a person's death. However, if a power of attorney is linked to an interest in a subject matter, including a loan or other credit transaction, it may remain in effect until a specific contingency occurs such as disability or incapacity. Additionally, if you provide in the power of attorney that it will enter into force at a specific future time or when a certain contingency occurs, then it may remain valid until that time or event occurs. Section 21 (ii) of Law 79 provides that all powers of attorney executed before, on or after its effective date shall be subject to section 5614. In general, an agent has all powers with respect to stocks, bonds and securities that the principal could if present.

The principal may also modify or restrict certain powers of the agent when it comes to ending life support if he chooses to do so. The meaning and effect of a power of attorney is determined by the law of the jurisdiction indicated in the document and, in its absence, by the law of the jurisdiction in which it was executed. In any case, with or without a will, probate court will grant authority to act on behalf of an estate to someone who may or may not also be an agent under a power of attorney. Powers of Attorney exempted by this subsection that are recorded in the office for the Registrar of Deeds under section 5602 (c) must be acknowledged prior to recording. Under law, a power of attorney must be executed while the director is alive and in his right mind acting freely.