Does my will override my durable power of attorney?

Bburling asked...

Does my will override my durable power of attorney?

Expert Answer

Barbara Repa, a senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

One document does not override the other. Each of them do different things and take effect at different times.

If you name an agent in a power of attorney to manage your finances and other property, that power generally takes effect if you become mentally incapable of managing them on your own. Even then, the agent is only empowered to deal with the property in your best interests. He or she cannot generally sell or rent out your real estate, for example, unless it would be in your best interests. All powers that attach to a power of attorney end when the principal"”or person who finalized the POA"”dies.

A will, on the other hand, takes effect only when the person who made it dies. Any executor named in the document will then be charged with collecting and managing the property that is left and distributing it to the people or institutions named in the will.

The basics of wills and powers of attorney, along with other estate planning documents, are discussed in's article, "Estate Planning 101," at