Everything You Need To Know About Power Of Attorney After The Death Of A Loved One

A family member’s death can be overwhelming. In addition to the emotional trauma caused by the loss of a loved one, you must also deal with the legal requirements of settling their final affairs.

What is a Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that authorises someone to act on your behalf. There are numerous varieties of powers of attorney. Some POAs grant expansive authority, such as a durable general power of attorney.

Under the terms of a general durable power of attorney, you can conduct any financial transaction in the person’s name that they themselves could conduct. You can, for instance, sell or buy assets, open and close financial accounts, file and settle legal disputes, and manage investments.

A power of attorney can limit the scope of the authority it grants. A particular power of attorney could grant another individual the authority to close a real estate transaction. Other than closing the real estate transaction, the attorney-in-fact cannot conduct any other transactions in the principal’s name.

A healthcare power of attorney delegates the authority to make healthcare decisions to another individual. This type of power of attorney may also be limited, or it may grant the individual the authority to make any decision, including those involving end-of-life care.

What is a Wrongful Death Claim?

If another party caused the death of your loved one, you may have a claim for wrongful death against that party. A claim for wrongful death is a civil action against the person who caused the death of a family member. It seeks to hold the defendant financially responsible for the damages resulting from the death.

According to 5-4.1 of the New York Consolidated Laws, Estates, Powers, and Trust Code, a wrongful death claim requires the following five elements:

  • A person died
  • There was irresponsible or negligent conduct.
  • There existed a cause of action that the deceased could have pursued had they survived.
  • One or more individuals who survived the deceased and suffered economic losses as a result of the death can recover damages from the estate of the deceased.

It is not necessary for the death to be intentional. It may be the result of a personal injury accident. The following incidents and accidents may give rise to a wrongful death claim, but the list is not exhaustive:

  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Assaults and acts of violence
  • Occupational accidents
  • defective merchandise
  • Construction accidents

A claim for wrongful death cannot bring back a deceased loved one. However, it can hold the party legally liable for the death of your family member. You can also recover damages that can assist your family with expenses as you continue to heal from the loss of a family member.

Depending on the specifics of the case, the estate may receive compensation. Nonetheless, the estate may recover compensation for lost future earnings, lost inheritance, burial expenses, medical expenses, and funeral expenses, among other losses.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in New York?

In certain states, relatives may file a wrongful death claim. The law may restrict who may file a lawsuit. In New York, wrongful death claims operate differently.

The right to file a lawsuit for wrongful death rests with the personal representative of the deceased’s estate. Any funds recovered by the personal representative are held in trust for the estate’s heirs and beneficiaries. When the estate is settled, the assets are distributed to the deceased’s heirs and beneficiaries.

How Long Does the Estate Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim?

In New York, the statute of limitations for filing a claim for wrongful death is typically two years from the date of death. Due to the existence of exceptions to the statute of limitations, it is best to consult with an attorney as soon as possible. If the deadline for filing a lawsuit is missed, the family loses its legal rights and compensation.

Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm

Contact Abrams Law Group for a free consultation if you’ve been hurt in an accident and require legal assistance.

Abrams Law Group
104-70 Queens Boulevard, Suite 502
Forest Hills, NY 11375
(718) 997-9797

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