A power of attorney agent is someone you trust to make decisions on your behalf. You can create a document that grants these powers in the event of your incapacitation. Before creating such a document, you must understand the scope and limits of this authority.
Here is a broad exploration of each power of attorney type available in Texas. Within these descriptions, you can learn just how much authority an agent can have over you.
General Power of Attorney
In Texas, a general power of attorney is a broad category. It allows someone to manage your finances, make business decisions for you, and sign legal documents on your behalf. You can use this document for any circumstance. For instance, you can give someone authority over your business while you are away on vacation.
The agent has the authority to make any decision for you unless the document expressly forbids it.
When creating this document, you must employ the services of a good attorney. They can help you write strict, unambiguous language. This can prevent an agent from abusing their power or having control over matters that you’d rather they didn’t possess.
Limited and/or Special Power of Attorney
A limited power of attorney gives an agent the authority to perform specific actions on your behalf. This type of power of attorney is often used for a single transaction, such as buying or selling a property. The agent's authority will not extend beyond the action detailed in the document.
A special power of attorney in Texas is similar to a limited power of attorney. It also gives the agent power over a specific situation, but the agent has broader authority to act on behalf of the principal.
- Limited Power of Attorney
The agent is allowed to sell your house on your behalf, but they cannot make any more sales or purchases in your name.
- Special Power of Attorney
The agent has authority over all buying and selling in your name.
Durable Power of Attorney
A durable power of attorney gives an agent authority if you are unable to make decisions for themselves. This type of power of attorney goes into effect the moment you sign it.
The agent can manage the principal's finances, make medical decisions, and sign legal documents on their behalf.
You can revoke a durable power of attorney at any time while you are still mentally competent.
Springing Power of Attorney
A springing power of attorney is also used in instances of incapacitation.
However, unlike the durable power of attorney, the springing power of attorney goes into effect only when a specific condition is met. For instance, you can limit it to prolonged unconsciousness and even specify the length of that unconsciousness.
You must clearly state the condition in the document, and that condition must be verified by a doctor or other medical professional.
Once the condition is met, the agent can manage the principal's finances, make medical decisions, and sign legal documents on their behalf.
Medical Power of Attorney
A medical power of attorney allows someone else to make medical decisions on your behalf.
The agent can make decisions such as consenting to medical treatment, selecting doctors and hospitals, managing prescriptions, and making end-of-life decisions.
The medical power of attorney takes effect only when the principal is unable to make their own medical decisions. This could be the result of illness, injury, or any other incapacitating event.
Speaking with an Attorney
It is highly recommended that you seek a lawyer’s advice when creating any power of attorney document in Texas. This is especially true if you have complex financial or legal matters that need addressing. An attorney can help ensure that your document complies with all state laws and regulations, and they guide you on the best power of attorney for your situation.
A lawyer can also help you select an appropriate agent, provide guidance on how to limit the agent's authority, and they can help you understand the implications of giving someone the power to act on your behalf.
An attorney can also assist with creating other important estate planning documents such as wills and trusts. All of these documents work together with the power of attorney to make sure your wishes are carried out correctly.
Law Offices Of Mark M. Childress is here to help with all your estate planning needs. For a free consultation, you can set up time with us online or call our office at (817) 497-8148.