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Can naming two related people (husband and wife) in a will as financial advisor and power of attorney be a conflict of interest?

Chicago, IL |

My sister is the financial power of atorney on my mother's will and her husband is the financial advisor named in the will.

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Attorney answers 3


The power of attorney ends upon your mother's death, at which time, her husband is the executor of the will.

Make sense, no?

At least that appears to be the wishes of your mother.


Powers of attorney terminate upon death. It appears that your sister's husband will be the financial advisor after your mother's death, but what is really needed is an executor. Perhaps that your brother i law was named executor.


You are mixing some terminology up, here. There is no conflict of interest because the two jobs are completely separate and take place at different times. Sister acts during mom's lifetime to take care of mom, pay her bills, and handle her affairs. At mom's death, sister is done and the POA terminates. At that point, an estate is opened and brother-in-law manages the estate according to the terms of mom's Will. I do not see a conflict of interest.

You can argue "hypothetically", there is a conflict of interest in every fiduciary situation. The more complicated the fiduciary makes it and the more work that needs to be done, perhaps the fee gets larger, etc. There are rules that severely restrict the ability to "game the system."

Your mom apparently feels that your sister and her husband are best suited to handle these tasks. The fact that she has done her estate planning to begin with is a great thing and should make handling her affairs much easier and smoother.

If you feel that either sister or brother-in-law are not performing their required duties, then you should contact a probate attorney right away, to discuss the situation further.

James Frederick

*** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state.

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