Does Power of Attorney Override a Spouse: Explained

Being married doesn’t always grant final authority in legal matters.

Power of attorney overrides a spouse as it is given to another family member or someone outside the family.

Learn about power of attorney and its impact on spousal rights.

Does Power of Attorney Override a Spouse?

Marriage holds significant legal power, but it doesn’t always grant the final say in all matters.

Learn about power of attorney and its potential impact on spousal rights.

Marriage conveys numerous federal rights and tax advantages, but it doesn’t guarantee ultimate authority in all situations.

Explore the meaning of power of attorney and its implications for spousal rights.

What Is the Power of Attorney’s Authority?

When your spouse grants someone else power of attorney, they gain decision-making authority.

There are general and durable types, with the latter lasting even after incapacity or death. The person granting power of attorney is the “principal,” and the recipient is the “agent.

Choosing durable or non-durable power of attorney has significant implications, so consult an estate planning lawyer.

These powers can be broad or limited, with non-durable ones for specific purposes, while durable ones are comprehensive.

Durable powers of attorney typically cover a wide range of financial matters, like banking, bill payment, loans, tax filing, public benefits, and asset management.

Who Has the Last Word in Your Legal Affairs?

A power of attorney takes precedence over a spouse’s wishes.

It’s often granted to a family member, business colleague, or trusted expert like an attorney or accountant.

A non-spouse may be better suited for managing specific matters for the principal or their family, including the spouse.

The agent often serves as the executor and/or trustee of the principal’s will and trust.

Before selecting an agent for power of attorney, consider if they can effectively use the granted power for your benefit and your family’s if you become incapacitated.

What Should You Think Prior to Deciding on an Agent?

When choosing a power of attorney, consider:

  1. Shared ethics.
  2. Relevant experience.
  3. Emotional maturity.
  4. Time availability.
  5. Financial security.
  6. Resourcefulness.
  7. Ability to navigate family dynamics.

This is especially important when selecting from multiple children, step-parents, or non-family members.

Carefully assess these criteria to avoid potential problems.

Consult with a knowledgeable attorney to ensure your rights and wishes are protected when granting such power.