Texas Power Of Attorney Form Template – Forbes Advisor – Forbes

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A power of attorney (POA) form is a legal tool that allows someone to act on your behalf. These flexible and powerful documents can be limited or expansive based on your needs. Some may simply allow someone to make medical decisions for you if you become incapacitated, while others allow you to grant full control over your property and finances to someone else.

You can use our free Texas power of attorney template to customize and create a document tailored to meet your needs.

What Is a Power of Attorney?

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A power of attorney is a legal document granting one person the right to act on behalf of another person. The person granting this authority is the principal, and the person given this power is the agent or “attorney-in-fact.”

The POA can be limited to a specific area of the principal’s life, for example, a medical power of attorney or a financial power of attorney. It can also be limited in duration or limited based on the state of the principal. If the principal becomes incapacitated, only a “durable” power of attorney will allow the agent to continue to act on the principal’s behalf.

Who Should Use a Power of Attorney Form?

Anyone who wants to ensure that a specific person has the power to act on their behalf should consider a power of attorney. A POA is a powerful, viable tool in any situation where you need someone to act for you. You don’t have to be old or sick.

That said, if someone with a durable POA does become incapacitated, they’re covered. Indeed, if you consult with an estate planning attorney, odds are they will discuss using a power of attorney as part of your overall estate plan.

How to Create a Power of Attorney in Texas

You must satisfy the following requirements to create Texas power of attorney:

  • The principal must be competent, meaning they can make their own decisions.
  • The power of attorney must be in writing.
  • The document must contain:
    • The name of the attorney-in-fact, or agent
    • The responsibilities the principal gives the attorney-in-fact
    • The principal’s signature in the presence of a notary public

While not required, you may wish to give copies of the final, signed document to your attorney-in-fact, financial institution and key family members. Store the original in a safe place. Revisit your power of attorney regularly and update it as circumstances change.

Types of Powers of Attorney

There are two broad categories of powers of attorney based on how expansive they are and the state of the principal.

Narrow or Broad Powers of Attorney

Narrow powers of attorney are limited to a specific task or situation the principal wants the agent to perform on their behalf. These powers of attorney can be as narrow as a POA to sell a vehicle or as broad as granting the agent the ability to act in all financial matters.

Among the more well-known powers of attorney is the medical power of attorney. This document grants the agent the authority to make medical decisions on behalf of the principal when they are incapable of making those decisions themselves. An advanced directive or healthcare directive combines a medical POA with a living will to ensure that the principal’s wishes and interests are carried out in case of incapacity.

Powers of Attorney Based on Different Capacities

One of the main reasons that powers of attorney are created is to deal with the possibility of becoming incapacitated. Many POAs are designed based on the capacity of the principal.

  • General Power of Attorney. A general or “non-durable” power of attorney can only work when the principal is competent. If the principal becomes incapacitated, the POA is no longer functional.
  • Durable Power of Attorney. When creating a durable power of attorney, the principal intends for the agent to have authority no matter what. In Texas, durability is not presumed. This means a power of attorney will not automatically remain effective if the principal becomes disabled or incapacitated unless it meets the specific requirements of a durable power of attorney.
  • Springing Power of Attorney. Sometimes called a “standby” power of attorney, the springing POA only becomes effective if the principal becomes disabled or incapacitated.

Who Can Be an Attorney-In-Fact?

Nearly anyone can serve as an attorney-in-fact. They do not need to be an actual attorney. They do, however, need to be a legal adult and not otherwise incapacitated.

Ensure that the attorney-in-fact is someone you trust. Note that principals may also select backup attorneys-in-fact, in case the primary is unreachable.

What Are the Signing Requirements for a Power of Attorney Form in Texas?

Signing requirements for a power of attorney differ across states. When you consider the broad powers a POA can grant, the strict requirements make sense. In Texas, a POA does require a notary.

Do You Need a Lawyer to Get a Power of Attorney in Texas?

You can always go it alone and create your own Texas power of attorney. There are no requirements that you use an attorney. However, if you do so, you should proceed with caution. A power of attorney can grant broad powers to the attorney-in-fact, so it’s a good idea to have a trusted lawyer review the document before signing.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What types of authority can you provide through a power of attorney form?

This depends on your needs and what you’re comfortable with. Some people prefer a very limited power of attorney for specific situations, such as a POA to sell a vehicle while traveling out-of-state. However, others may prefer a broader range of financial and healthcare decision-making authority, such as when an aging parent sets up a power of attorney naming their child as their agent to make a broad range of decisions on their behalf.

When does a power of attorney end?

A general, non-durable power of attorney ends upon the incapacity of the principal. However, a durable power of attorney will endure the principal’s capacity and only terminate upon the principal’s death as POAs are only effective during the life of the principal. One other way that a general or durable power of attorney can end is if the principal revokes the POA which can be done at any time, although it is more complicated after a principal becomes incapacitated and will likely require a petition to the court.

How do you take power of attorney away from someone?

Anyone besides the principal or their guardian can only take away power of attorney by petitioning the court to intervene. A principal—or the principal’s legally-appointed guardian or conservator—can revoke a POA at any time, as long as they are of sound mind. Typically, you need to revoke the agent’s ability to act for you in writing and the revocation must clearly state the intention to revoke the power of attorney.

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