Queens, NY asked in Estate Planning for New York

Q: A colleague verbally asked I take care of her final affairs. I have Power-of-attorney (signed, witnessed, and notarized)

No health care proxy. She told me her wishes, and a Will was written for her to sign, get witnessed, and notarized, but her health turned (she's unconscious) so it's invalid. But I know her wishes. She has an estranged sister who is not the beneficiary (a non-relative third-party) of her 401k nor her life insurance, both of which are administered by our company via third party services as employee benefits (they're her only major assets). She specifically wanted her sister excluded from knowledge of her death, attendance at her funeral, and all of the estate, but I assume her sister will likely end up with assets from the probate estate for any assets or accounts without designated beneficiaries (checking, savings, jewelry, cash, etc). There are no real estate assets or other heirs-in-law. How do I protect myself legally & try to fulfill her funeral service, headstone, and burial site wishes next to her mother? Can it be funded via the beneficiary's to-come inheritance?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Benjamin Z. Katz
Benjamin Z. Katz
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • New York, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: The Power of Attorney is valid during her lifetime. If it gives you power to make financial decisions and transactions, you can pre-pay for burial and funeral arrangements now, including the headstone.

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