If you have started the estate planning process, you know that there is typically more involved than just writing up a will. The power of attorney is also an important document that should be included in just about every estate plan. A power of attorney gives someone else the right to handle your finances and legal matters if you ever become unable to do so due to incapacity or disability. You can also file a medical power of attorney to have someone make medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated.
Types of power of attorney
There are multiple types of power of attorney (POA), each meant to serve a different purpose. Here are the main types:
- General power of attorney – Allows another person to act on your behalf regarding financial and legal matters, but if you become incapacitated or disabled, the general power of attorney will end.
- Durable power of attorney – Allows general power of attorney to continue on in the event of incapacitation or disability, under 751.131 of the Texas Estates Code.
- Limited power of attorney – Allows another person to make decisions on your behalf for a specified period of time and only with regard to specific matters.
- Springing power of attorney – Allows another person to make financial and legal decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated or disabled.
- Medical power of attorney – Allows another person to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated or disabled.
What types of responsibilities do POAs have?
While POAs do not control everything, they can engage in various transactions and make many decisions on your behalf. Financial POAs can act on your behalf by:
- Filing your taxes
- Making your investment decisions
- Managing your property
- Handling your debts
- Paying your bills
- Apply for your Medicaid and other public benefits
Medical powers of attorney can make healthcare decisions including:
- Which nursing home or long-term care facility to admit you to
- Which treatments/surgeries/resuscitation measures you will undergo/receive
- Which medications you will receive
- Who is allowed to access your medical records
Appointing a power of attorney in Texas is a serious responsibility and one that should not be taken lightly. An estate administration/probate attorney specializing in these matters can make sure you properly assign these responsibilities to people that can abide by your wishes and are best suited for making these decisions.