Unfortunately, it is common for agents in powers of attorney to continue to use them to conduct financial business even after the principal has died. Once a principal has died, the agent and the principal’s family or legatees should consult with a succession attorney.
It is important to remember that powers of attorney should never be used to conduct business once the principal has died. The agent has no legal authority to conduct business. Under Louisiana law, the administration of assets is governed by succession law. It will necessary to obtain the proper authority of a court or obtain necessary documentation to obtain the authority to administer the assets and debts of the principal’s estate.
Since the agent lacks legal authority once the principal dies, any actions taken by the agent using the power of attorney to administer the Principal’s estate, can be challenged. This can subject the agent to possible civil litigation and criminal actions.
If you have any questions regarding powers or attorney or succession, please consult an experienced estate planning attorney. Kent S. DeJean