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Intellectual Property

 May 04, 2022

Can a Power of Attorney Change a Will?

Woman working on laptop with young son nearby.

A Power of Attorney is a legal document that gives someone the authority to make decisions on your behalf. This can include things like making financial decisions, handling business affairs, or managing your health care. But can a Power of Attorney change a Will?

In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about a Power of Attorney before you begin creating a Living Will.

What is a Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney (POA) is a legal document that gives someone else the authority to make decisions on your behalf. This person is known as your “agent” or “attorney-in-fact.”

You can give your agent as much or as little power as you want. For example, you can give them the authority to make financial decisions on your behalf, or you can give them the power to make medical decisions if you become incapacitated.

A POA can be “durable” or “nondurable.” A Durable POA stays in effect even if you become incapacitated, while a Nondurable POA is only valid as long as you’re competent. You can also have a “springing” POA, which only goes into effect if you become incapacitated.

What is a Will?

So, what is a Will? A Will is a legal document that dictates what happens to your property and assets after you die. A Living Will, also known as an advance directive, is a legal document that allows you to make your wishes known regarding end-of-life decisions in advance, in case you are ever unable to do so. 

Taking care of your family and estate when you pass away is one of the top reasons why you need a Will. While a POA gives someone the authority to make decisions on your behalf while you’re alive, a Will only comes into effect after you die.

Can a Power of Attorney Change a Will?

So, can a Durable Power of Attorney change a Will? The short answer to this question is no. A Power of Attorney cannot change a Will. The reason for this is that a Will only comes into effect after you die, while a POA is used to make decisions on your behalf while you’re alive.

However, there are some exceptions to this rule. If a Will is invalid, the POA can challenge it. But this is a very rare occasion. A Power of Attorney is only valid when the grantee is still alive.

This makes it nearly impossible to challenge a Will because the POA will have no power to do so once the grantee dies.

The Power of Attorney Can Still Affect an Estate Plan

While a Power of Attorney can’t change a Will, it can affect your estate plan. For example, if you have a Financial Power of Attorney and you name your spouse as your agent, they will be able to make financial decisions on your behalf.

This includes things like paying bills, managing bank accounts, and making investments. So, even though a POA can’t change a Will, it can still have a significant impact on your estate.

It’s important to note that a POA is revocable. This means that you can cancel it at any time as long as you’re competent. You should also update your POA regularly to make sure that it reflects your current wishes. For example, if you get divorced, you’ll need to update your POA to remove your ex-spouse as your agent.

If you have any questions about a Power of Attorney or how it can affect your estate, you should speak to an experienced estate planning attorney. They can help you understand the law and ensure that your documents are in order.

An estate planning attorney can also help you create a comprehensive estate plan that meets your unique needs and goals.

Need Help Creating a Will?

As you can see, a Power of Attorney can’t change a Will. It’s important that you establish a legal system to control the destiny of your estate.

Lucky for you, LegalShield makes this easy. Learn more about how to create a Living Will.

Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. (“PPLSI”) provides access to legal services offered by a network of provider law firms to PPLSI members through membership-based participation. Neither PPLSI nor its officers, employees or sales associates directly or indirectly provide legal services, representation, or advice. The information available in this blog is meant to provide general information and is not intended to provide legal advice, render an opinion, or provide any specific recommendations. The blog post is not a substitute for competent legal counsel from a licensed professional lawyer in the state or province where your legal issues exist, and the reader is strongly encouraged to seek legal counsel for your specific legal matter. Information contained in the blog may be provided by authors who could be third-party paid contributor. All information by authors are accepted in good faith, however, PPLSI makes no representation or warranty of any kind, express or implied, regarding the accuracy, adequacy, validity, reliability, availability, or completeness of such information.

 

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