What to do about 2 competing powers of attorney?

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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

Answers:

Catherine Blackburn / Blackburn Law Firm

Answered 8 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  If the later power says this, the earlier one is no longer valid.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.


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