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Ronald J. Cappuccio, J.D., LL.M.(Tax) is a tax and business attorney practicing since 1976. Ron is a Graduate of Georgetown University, the University of Kansas and the Georgetown University Law Center. He also studied at Exeter University, UK.


Ron protects business and individual taxpayers from IRS Audits, Tax Collections (including bank levies, wage executions) and IRS Appeals. Employee vs. Independent Contractor Issues, Manufacturer, Pharmaceutical and Restaurant and Pizza audits are a special area of emphasis.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Is a Power of Attorney Valid after death of the Grantor

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Question:
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Category: Probate, Trusts, Wills & Estates
Location: NY
Subject: Power Of Attorney

When a person has power of attorney can they sign the name of the person they have power of attorney for on legal documents? For example lets say Mary has POA over her mother Sue. They have joint bank accounts so Mary can pay her mom's bills but all the money in the accounts belongs to Sue. Mary does not contribute any money to these accouts. Can Mary sign Sue's name on a bank document having Sue's name removed from these accounts so that the accounts now belong to Mary? Now that Mary has passed away is the signing of these documents considered forgery?


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Reply:
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Category: Probate, Trusts, Wills & Estates
Location: NY
Subject: Re: Power Of Attorney

Here are my answers:

When a person has power of attorney can they sign the name of the person they have power of attorney for on legal documents?

Ans: Not exactly. Sue would sign "Mary XXX, Attorney In Fact for Sue XXX."

For example lets say Mary has POA over her mother Sue. They have joint bank accounts so Mary can pay her mom's bills but all the money in the accounts belongs to Sue. Mary does not contribute any money to these accouts. Can Mary sign Sue's name on a bank document having Sue's name removed from these accounts so that the accounts now belong to Mary?

Ans: It depends on the language of the Power of Attorney document. If the language specifically permits Mary to make gifts to herself on behalf of Sue, then she would have the authority. Otherwise, the power to make a self-gift is not normally in a Power of Attorney.

Now that Mary has passed away is the signing of these documents considered forgery?

Ans: The Power of Attorney expires at death of the grantor of the power (in this case Sue.) Mary does not have the legal authority, but to call it "forgery" seems an overstatement.

The reality is this sounds like a sibling dispute that would best be handled by discussions rather than litigation and charges.

Please check my web sites http://www.taxesq.com/ and http://www.saveyourestate.com/ for mor help.

Ron Cappuccio