How To Get a Power of Attorney in Texas

How To Get a Power of Attorney in Texas

Michelle Patrick
Michelle Patrick
 | 
Most of us assume that we will always be capable of making our own decisions and handling our affairs. What happens if you are suddenly unable to make decisions about your health or affairs? Who will make the decisions for you? Will they make the same decisions you would have made for yourself?

A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that allows you (the principal) to decide who (the agent) will make decisions on your behalf if you can no longer make them or, in limited situations, if you cannot be present. Creating a POA before you become incapacitated will help ensure that your wishes are followed.

In Texas there are 5 different powers of attorney.

Your first step should be to figure out which one, or ones, you need. 

General Power of Attorney.
A general POA gives your agent the ability to act on your behalf in a variety of matters. For example, you may need help paying your bills and handling your finances. A general POA would allow your agent to sign checks and transfer money on your behalf. General POA’s end when the principal becomes incapacitated.

Limited or Special Power of Attorney.
As the name implies this POA is limited in scope and/or duration. It is typically used for financial transactions and for real estate sales or purchases. If you are selling real estate and cannot be present for the sale, you could give your agent a limited or special POA to allow them to act on your behalf during the sale. At the end of the sale, the POA would end. 

Durable Power of Attorney.
A durable POA is similar to a general POA but it is “durable” meaning that it does not end if the principal becomes disabled or incapacitated. It becomes effective as soon as the principal can no longer manage his/her affairs. If you were to be suddenly hospitalized, your agent would be able to handle matters identified in the POA, such as paying bills while you were hospitalized. 

Springing Power of Attorney.
This POA becomes effective immediately upon incapacitation, not before, and lasts until you are no longer incapacitated. Having a springing POA in effect is helpful if say you got into a serious car accident and were became incapacitated. 

Medical Power of Attorney.
A medical POA allows the agent to make healthcare decisions when the principal becomes incapacitated. 

Once you have determined which POA you need, the appropriate form will need be filled out. While POA forms are available on-line, it might be best to have a lawyer do this for you so that you are sure you have the right form and that it is filled out correctly. 

To have a legally valid POA make sure that:
  • It is in writing;
  • The principal and agent are 18 years of age or older;
  • The names of the agent and principal are clearly identified;
  • It states what type of POA it is and how it is to be used;
  • Make sure you have made it durable or have included an end date;
  • Sign the POA before a notary public. In addition, POA’s often require a witness signature. In Texas, a medical POA requires 2 witness signatures; and
  • File the POA if necessary. If you are creating a limited power of attorney for a real estate transaction then the POA will need to be filed with the clerk of the county where the property is located. A POA may need to be filed with your bank to allow your agent access to your finances. 
  • If you wish to end your POA then you must revoke it. You should do so in writing. POA’s in Texas can be revoked in the following cases: 
  • In the case of a limited or special POA, at the end date specified in the document;
  • When the principal becomes incapacitated (if it is not a durable POA);
  • When the principal, who is of sound mind, decides to end it;
  • When a guardian is appointed; and 
  • Upon death.

It is important to know that not all businesses will accept a POA. Banks for example, may allow agents to deposit funds but not withdraw. They may have their own POA form for withdrawals. 

Setting up a POA before you need it is a good idea. It will give you time to decide what POA you need and to pick an agent. You can talk to your agent about your wishes to ensure that they are carried out appropriately. 

Law Champs can help you find a Texas attorney to get started on a POA as soon as possible. 


This article is intended to convey generally useful information only and does not constitute legal advice. Any opinions expressed are solely those of the author, not LawChamps. 

 
Michelle Patrick

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