Does Power of Attorney Override a Spouse’s Wishes?

Few partnerships have greater legal power than marriage, except a parent’s or legal guardian’s ability to make decisions on behalf of their children. In addition, marriage confers over 1,138 federal rights and advantages, including the ability to transfer property tax-free, and the distribution of marital property in the event of a dissolution of marriage.

On the other hand, being married does not always imply the ultimate word in all issues. For example, check to see what a power of attorney is and if it overrides the spousal rights.

What Is the Authority of the Power of Attorney?

When your spouse has granted someone else power of attorney over specific issues, you will not have the ultimate word in these situations. A power of attorney gives another person or organization the ability to make decisions on your behalf in some or all issues, just like you are making the decisions yourself.

If you become disabled, a general power of attorney will come to an immediate end. However, a durable power of attorney continues to be effective even after the grantor’s incapacity or death. Generally speaking, the individual who executes a power of attorney is referred to as the “principal,” and the person whose authority has been given is referred to as the “agent.”

The difference between executing a durable power of attorney and executing a non-durable power of attorney may be substantial. The effect varies under different situations. Therefore, it is always advisable to obtain the counsel of an experienced estate planning attorney before signing any of these documents.

Powers of attorney may be short or general. For example, most non-durable powers are granted for a specific purpose or activity, including a real estate closing, and thus only provide the powers necessary for that specific purpose and for a short period. On the other hand, durable powers of attorney are often extensive in scope, giving the full range of legally permissible powers.

Long-term powers of attorney are usually given on a large scale, allowing the agent to handle the principal’s financial activities, including bill-paying, loan management, tax filing, obtaining public benefits, as well as handling securities, property, and other assets. Some particular abilities may need signatures or initials in the power of attorney document because they are potentially harmful if it falls into the wrong hands. You can also get a free consultation by filling out this power of attorney form.

In Legal Matters, Who Has the Final Say?

In most cases, a power of attorney overrides the wishes of a spouse. A power of attorney is often granted to another member of the family, business partner, or trusted advisor who has particular experience in a specific field, such as an attorney, CPA, or company manager, among other matters. A non-spouse rather than the principal’s spouse may be more suited to manage a particular property, company, or another asset for the benefit of the principal or the principal’s family, which may include the spouse. In most cases, the agent also serves as the trustee or executor of the principal’s trust and will.

But since a power of attorney gives someone the authority to act on someone’s behalf in the areas specified in the agreement, experts recommend that several criteria should be examined before appointing a representative. When debating whom to appoint as power of attorney, the single most essential issue to answer honestly is whether the person in question will be capable of exercising the authority granted to benefit the principal or act for the welfare of the family if the principal becomes incompetent. Also, divorce can be an important factor in legal matters. Staying unhappy in a marriage is not recommended. You can also contact a divorce attorney to seek help if things go sideways.

How to Override a Power of Attorney

Overriding a power of attorney is a significant decision. It will take a careful study of the power of attorney paperwork to ascertain if all duties were carried out exactly as specified. Therefore, it is prudent to retain the services of an attorney with expertise in elder and disability law.

If you want to revoke someone’s power of attorney due to misuse or carelessness, examine the agreement with your lawyer and complete the following steps:

Consult the Principal: If the Principal is of sound mind, inform them of your concerns about the agent. They may revoke or alter their agent orally. However, it is better if they complete a formal power of attorney revocation form.

Approach the Agent: Request that the agent resigns via your counsel if the principal does not withdraw the POA (power of attorney). If the agent declines, the position is assumed by the Alternate Agent specified on the paper. If no Alternate Agent is nominated, a court application will be required to appoint a guardian to look after the principal’s interests.

Prepare for Court: If the Agent will not resign and a competent Principal will not withdraw power of attorney, you must go to court. While the matter is pending, your lawyer may ask the court to revoke a power of attorney and transfer guardianship or conservatorship to another person.

If the matter proceeds to court, you will almost certainly be required to: persuade the court that the agent should be terminated and demonstrate that the principal’s desires should be denied because of mental incapacity.

Suppose an Agent will not resign, or a competent Principal will not withdraw their powers, in that case, an experienced attorney is your best bet for persuading a court to overturn a power of attorney.

Also, an attorney can consult with specialists to ascertain the principal’s mental competency and provide dependable support during what can be a trying time for families.


Before giving someone power of attorney, they should carefully examine the extent of the authority and the implications of doing so. Consider having your plan reviewed by an experienced attorney who can assist you in protecting your rights and ensuring that your desires are carried out.

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