Unmarried adult children of divorced parents are in particular need of Powers of Attorney and Wills. When a person dies without a will, one of the default laws is that the parents, second to spouses, are among those with a right to act as personal representatives (executors) of the deceased's estate. However, both parents have an equal right to administer the estate unless the child has directed otherwise through Powers of Attorney and Will.
A Power of Attorney will function to give authority over assets and health care choices during life and a Will gives authority over assets after death. Even when an individual doesn't have a great deal of assets to manage, there are still accounts to close, bills to pay off, vehicles to sell, and other issues. If the asset level is significant, the need is more apparent. If the parents are married, they are obviously likely to act jointly or simply decide who will be in charge. However, if divorced, the likelihood of smooth agreement is much less and can lead to delays in administration, confusion, conflict and litigation.
In order to avoid legal battles, unmarried adult children of divorced parents should make it a priority to have Health Care Powers of Attorney, Durable Powers of Attorney and Wills in place to direct which parent will be in charge, or to name a significant other, sibling or friend to act instead. These documents are necessary, even if your parents are married, if you don't want either of them to act in these roles. Many adults would rather their siblings, friends, boyfriends or girlfriends act for them rather than parents.
For assistance with Spokane estate planning including Powers of Attorney and Wills, call Megan Lewis Law, PLLC at (509) 557-7797 or complete a contact request. Our office provides local service for Spokane estate planning and can provide online virtual web and phone conferencing for estate planning in Seattle, Olympia, Bellingham and other areas of Washington state.
Megan M. Lewis