From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: My friend who lives in Philadelphia asked me to pay off his bills from his checking account if he passes away. Am I able to use that as proof or do I need something signed saying so?
You seem to be asking about two legal items that both should be in writing. The first is a Power of Attorney. A Power of Attorney is a document that one person signs giving a second person (the Agent) the right to act for the first person. A power of attorney can be very broad (A General Power of Attorney) or narrow (Special Power of Attorney). But, a power of attorney ends at death, so if your friend gives you one it only can last during his or her lifetime.
After death, the person who can act for the deceased is called the Executor or the Personal Representative (the name differs from state to state). That person is named in a will, which must also be in writing. If your friend dies without a will, then his family will be able to open his estate with the Philadelphia County Register of Wills. However, as you are not family, you would be left out. If your friend wants you to take care of bill paying, that needs to be in writing. He should consult with an experienced Philadelphia Estate Planning Attorney to get it right.
If you have questions about Estate Planning in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania feel free to contact our office for a free consultation.