Having a power of attorney document is an essential part of estate planning since it provides for you to designate a trusted individual to make decisions and perform actions for you if you are unable to do so. The power of attorney is a legal document that puts a responsible person, typically a close relative or friend, in a position in which he or she can take care of legal and/or financial matters while you are incapacitated or inaccessible. The person to whom you have given power of attorney can pay your bills, manage your property and investments, and direct your medical care. In Texas, there are separate power of attorney requirements for financial matters and for healthcare.
Obviously, when you give power of attorney you are entrusting someone with crucial decisions so the choice must be made very carefully. For the same reason, you should never fill out a form taken from the internet to create a power of attorney. This is not a do-it-yourself project. To make certain the document covers all the necessary territory and is legally binding, it should be drafted and reviewed by an experienced estate planning attorney. In the Fort Worth area and throughout greater Tarrant County, such skilled attorneys can be found at The Law Office of Carey Thompson, PC.
Types of Power of Attorney
Power of Attorney, known as POA, is not always all-inclusive. In some cases, the principal gives his or her agent (the “attorney-in-fact”) the authority to take particular actions only. Thus, the POA may authorize the agent to perform one specific transaction, or only one type of transaction, or it may stipulate that the agent will only retain this power for a limited period of time. In other words, power of attorney is not an all or nothing proposition. Below are types of power of attorney effective in Texas:
- Durable power of attorney — begins when the document is signed and remains in place after an episode of incapacity is over
- Springing power of attorney –“springs into action” only when you become incapacitated or unavailable
- Medical power of attorney — (also known as “Medical Power of Attorney Designation of Health Care Agent”) gives your agent the authority to make medical treatment decisions for you if you become physically or mentally unable to do so
It should be noted that the springing power of attorney can create a delay in your agent’s ability to act on your behalf because it requires that individual to get a determination of your incapacity, typically from a physician. Until a medical professional has attested to the fact that you can no longer make your decisions, the springing power of attorney doesn’t kick in — a fact to be considered since sometimes this may take days or weeks during which no one is at the helm.
Uses for a POA
There need not be an urgent medical need for a POA to be useful. In some cases you may simply be unavailable to sign a deed or other document because you are traveling. Whether you are physically or mentally incapacitated, or are simply inaccessible when a legal or financial action needs to be taken, a POA can provide you with the security you need to give you peace of mind that your financial and/or legal obligations will be taken care of.
Why The Law Office of Carey Thompson Is the Right Choice
The attorneys at our law office are highly skilled when it comes to creating the appropriate POA document to suit your needs. We routinely work closely with our estate planning clients to make sure that their unique needs are met, their questions are answered, and their concerns are addressed.
When you check out our testimonials you’ll find that our clients are not only satisfied by our competency but relieved by the comprehensive strategies we design to protect them and their families. We pride ourselves on our efficiency, our integrity, and our ability to empathize. When you need us, we will be here for you. We are dedicated to protecting your interests and the interests of those you care about most.
Legal Requirements for Texas Power of Attorney
Deciding to give someone power of attorney is a serious decision and must meet certain legal requirements:
- The agent to whom you give power of attorney must be at least 18 years of age.
- The individual must be of sound mind and capable of understanding the responsibility being undertaken.
- If your agent will be conducting real estate transactions for you, the POA document must be filed with the clerk of the county in which the property is located.
- The POA will end (a) on its designated date if it has an end date (b) when you revoke it (c) when a guardian of the estate is appointed for you or (d) when you die.
It is important to understand that you when you give an individual power of attorney, you are not signing away your personal power. Your agent has to abide by your stated wishes and, insofar as you are able, you retain the ability to make your own decisions and do things for yourself.
Why You Should Establish Power of Attorney Now
No matter what your age, if you are an adult managing your own affairs now is the time to designate a person to whom you assign power of attorney. As you are undoubtedly aware, part of being a responsible individual is looking ahead and preparing for eventualities, both those that are expected and those that are unanticipated.
No one knows what the future holds for any of us, but the strong team of attorneys at The Law Office of Carey Thompson, PC is well-prepared to help you plan for contingencies so that you and your family will be protected. Having a POA is one vital way to ensure safety in the face of unforeseen events. Like having insurance and a will, it provides you and your loved ones with a safe haven if your stability is threatened. Contact us soon to create a protective legal structure for yourself and those you hold dear.