What to do about 2 competing powers of attorney?

My husband holds the most recent POA. It is a durable power for his mother that covers all aspects, including personal and family care. It has been recorded and notorized/registered. His brother hold an earlier, medical only, power of attorney for her. It has not been recorded and I am not sure if it’s notorized. How do these 2 powers of attorney compare?

Asked on February 21, 2013 under Estate Planning, North Carolina


Catherine Blackburn / Blackburn Law Firm

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

I cannot answer specifically because I have not seen the powers, nor do I practice in North Carolina.  In general, most powers of attorney state that they revoke any prior powers in existence.  If the later power says this, the earlier one is no longer valid.

The earlier power may be invalid if it does not comply with your state's formal requirements.  However, most states do not have very stringent requirements for medical surrogate documents.

As to how the two powers compare, a lawyer would have to read them to tell you how they compare.  A durable power of attorney usually covers much more than just medical decisions - it usually covers financial affairs as well.

As a practical matter, your family would be well served by your husband and his brother working out any disagreements they have without resorting to arguments.  If they cannot do this, you should consult a lawyer in your state.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.