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Video: Do Spouses Have Automatic Powers of Attorney For Each Other?

Do Spouses Have Automatic Powers of Attorney
Do spouses have automatic powers of attorney for each other? Georgia estate planning and probate attorney Sarah Siedentopf shares the answer, in Siedentopf Law’s latest video.

Hi, I’m Sarah Siedentopf. I’m an estate planning and probate attorney in Atlanta, Georgia. My question today is, do spouses have automatic power of attorney for each other?

The answer is no. If you’re going to do something that requires a power of attorney you will actually need to have one signed by your spouse. They sometimes come into play when one spouse is being discharged from the hospital and the other one is trying to get things set up, maybe to move into an assisted living facility, and suddenly realizes that the first spouse is not in a position to be signing documents, but the second spouse doesn’t have the authority to sign those documents, and this can sort of be a catch-22 and rush to the attorney’s office situation.

However, I do want to point out that there is a difference between a financial power of attorney and medical power of attorney. The advance directive for health care, which is Georgia’s medical power of attorney, spouses do have an automatic power of attorney.

If you’re married, and you haven’t filled one of those out, your spouse will still be able to speak on your behalf. So, no financial power of attorney unless one has actually been signed, but there is the ability to speak medically.

If you’ve got any other questions about this, please let me know. Thanks.

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