What is “Power Of Attorney,” And How Does It Work?

A Power of Attorney is an important estate planning tool that appoints a particular person (the “agent”) to manage an aspect of your life (such as your medical decisions, financial affairs, etc.) should you become unable to do so. In other words, these documents allow you (as the “principal”) to designate someone else to act as your agent.

Because these are extremely powerful documents, it is crucial that they be drafted with a probate and will attorney who has experience and knowledge in doing so. Failing to follow specific protocols with respect to power of attorney can not only result in these important documents losing their value and credence, but if not handled properly, they can also lead to family disputes and disarray. It is also important that, like a will, they be put in place as soon as possible, as one can never predict when they will be needed.

Durable & Medical Power of Attorney

There is both a durable power of attorney—which designates someone to make financial arrangements on your behalf—and medical power of attorney—which enables and empowers someone else to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to do so. These powers can become effective at any time in the future, or upon the occurrence of a particular event, such as one becoming disabled or incapacitated. Keep in mind that when you give someone power of attorney, they can effectively make choices for you as though you yourself were making those choices. Thus, those choices have that same legal authority.

In Texas, power of attorney can be general or limited, where general allows the agent to partake in a variety of transactions on behalf of the principal, and limited is very specific and governs only a specific transaction or class of transactions.

Drafting Power of Attorney Documents

While there are typically forms available online which allow you to create a power of attorney for your finances or medical decisions, relying upon these documents can be tricky because they may not conform to the specific requirements as put forth by law in order to become legitimate. For example, the document must be signed (with a witness present) and notarized.

Experienced Texas Power of Attorney Lawyers

At Scott M. Brown & Associates, we provide a full range of will and probate services, including working on power of attorney documents for our Texas clients. If you have any questions related to estate planning, contact us today to find out more. Note that we also provide probate services for executors outside the state of Texas in order to ensure that the affairs of any given estate are handled as smoothly and painlessly as possible.

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