Power of Attorney Texas is a website designed to educate the public about the main types of power of attorney forms available in Texas and actually provide the ability to create the forms right here on this site.
It is important to set up a power of attorney in order to protect your family, friends, and yourself. With the help of this document, you can provide authority for someone else to deal with legal contracts on your behalf. It's also possible to allocate which type of power they should be given. There are basically four types: financial, long-term, medical, and short-term.
What is a Power of Attorney?
Each state has separate and therefore slightly different legal definitions and requirements pertaining to their Power of Attorney documents. Texas is no different, and so this site pertains exclusively to the various Texas Power of Attorney forms.
This is a key point. POA documents are true iron-clad legal documents and considered some of the most potent legal forms that individuals can make, ranking even above the last will and testament.
What are the different types of Power of Attorney forms?
Essentially, in Texas, a Power of Attorney form comes in three main varieties with one or two subtypes.
The main types of POAs are:
- Texas General Financial Power of Attorney – This document allows a third party (known as the agent) to perform all the day-to-day tasks and responsibilities of the person granting the authority (known as the principal). The agent can perform business and banking functions, make medical, health and well-being decisions, and a host of other functions, including representing the principal in legal and tax matters.
- Texas Health Care Power of Attorney – Also known as a Medical Power of Attorney, or an Advance Directive, this document is restricted to allowing an agent to make medical decisions regarding drugs, medical procedures and treatments, and life extension procedures on behalf of the principal.
- Texas Limited Power of Attorney – Also referred to as a “Special Power of Attorney,” this document exists for the purpose and duration of a specific function or even only. For example, you may create a Limited Power of Attorney allowing a third party to sell a car or specific piece of property or to handle a tax issue from a certain year or group of years.
To really put these POA legal documents in a nutshell, consider that their function is to make another person of your choice become “legally you.” The person you choose can withdraw from your bank, sell your house and even determine if you should or should not get a life-saving medical procedure. The power of attorney agent becomes you in the eyes of the law.
Really all the different POA forms in Texas are derived from the Texas General Power of Attorney. It is that essential document that is defined in the Texas Probate Law. It is how you modify this form that gives it different names.
One modification is critical to the document, which is to make the General POA form Durable.
All Power of Attorney forms in Texas become ineffective when the principal becomes incapacitated or dies. If you include very specific wording in your POA form, you can keep the form effective even after you can no longer make decisions for yourself. This is a CRITICAL function of the Power of Attorney document, which is why all of the forms we offer on this site are made durable. That is, all of our forms remain effective even if the principal becomes incapacitated.
Do I need a Power of Attorney?
The short answer is yes. As you age and acquire more assets, this powerful document becomes more important to protect your lifestyle and those of your loved ones if something were to happen to you. Remember, you can revise the POA form as many times as you like, but you cannot create one after becoming incapacitated.
With all that decision-making capability on your behalf (not to mention all of your finances), many people worry that there could be a wide margin for misconduct if the Power of Attorney form is not prepared correctly. Although most states like Texas, for instance, have protective measures in place to prevent such occurrences, there is no replacement for a properly created form.
Steps to Making a POA
The first step is to determine the appropriate time for which you should set up a power of attorney. If it is valid for a year or more, you need to go through the state's probate courts before it can be enforced. This process can last several months and has its own associated fees for filing the paperwork.
On the other hand, if you want to set up a power of attorney for less than one year, the process is more simplified. It can be done through an advanced healthcare directive that doesn't require any prior approval from courts or proper documentation. However, there are some restrictions on what it can be used for, and it's different from state to state.
In Texas, for example, a power of attorney cannot be used to write a check from someone's deposit account. On the other hand, a person can give authority to sell or buy stocks or even pull money out of their retirement savings plan. This may vary depending on where you live, but it is an unrestricted power in most cases.
In any case, the person you choose to set up a power of attorney should be someone trustworthy and in good health. They should also have your best interests at heart since there is the risk that they might mismanage your finances or even misuse your funds. It's essential to discuss the matter with this person and establish their terms of reference.
It would be best to consider whether or not you want to restrict the power they have over your life. For example, you can specify that authority is restricted exclusively for your financial affairs if it's someone who will act as an executor for your will. This reduces the risk of them using their powers unduly, but you should be aware that it may not be possible to withdraw a power of attorney at a later date.
If you are uncertain about giving someone unrestricted powers over your life then it is worth considering setting up two separate powers - one for financial affairs and another for healthcare decisions. This way, if there is ever a conflict between the two agents then you will have the final say.
So researching these legal documents before creating one or signing one is the right thing to do. That is the purpose of this site, after all, to provide that information for a sound decision. Know that the most important thing is to choose your agent wisely. Make sure the person you choose to be your Power of Attorney agent is someone you trust more than 100%.
We encourage you to read more about the power of attorney documents here on this site or the entry in Wikipedia about Power of Attorney forms and learn as much as you can so you can make an informed decision.
The forms we have provided here on this website are completely valid and updated for the 2022 Texas Probate Law. They are very easy to use and can be printed instantly.
If you want to jump right in, you can create your durable power of attorney form for Texas in minutes.