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Does a spouse automatically have Power of Attorney?

1 answer | Last updated: Dec 31, 2014
A fellow caregiver asked...

My husband, Ken, is 75 years old and has Parkinson's disease, is diabetic, and suffers from neuropathy. We have a joint account so that is OK. Hedoesn't have any children. I am wondering, since I am his wife, does that automatically give me his power of attorney?


Caring.com User - Steve Weisman
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A fellow caregiver answered...

Although as a joint owner of a bank account, you have full access to that account, you do not automatically have a power of attorney for your husband merely because you are married. A Durable Power of Attorney is not a one-size-fits-all document and it should be tailored to your husband's needs and desires. It is a very important document that would permit you to act on his behalf in as broad or as limited a fashion as your husband would want. I urge you to have him contact his lawyer in regard to making sure that he gets both a Durable Power of Attorney and a Health Care Advance Directive.