A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that allows you to give another person the authority to handle your affairs. A power of attorney can be flexible. You can assign your POA to a trusted party for general, special, or limited purposes. It can take effect immediately, or it can become active in the event that you become incapacitated or otherwise unable to care for yourself.
Assigning your power of attorney is an important decision. Dealing with this and other estate planning issues can be both stressful and confusing. We want to make the process easier and simpler. By setting up your powers of attorney now, you can have peace of mind knowing that you will be properly cared for no matter what life throws at you.
At Weisinger Law Firm, PLLC, we want to make sure that you and your family have all of the information that you need to make the best decisions. Here, our compassionate estate planning lawyers in San Antonio provide an overview of some of the most important things that you need to know about powers of attorney in Texas.
Understanding Power of Attorney (POA) in Texas
In Texas, power of attorney gives a person (known as an ‘agent’) the legal authority to act on behalf of another person (known as the principal). In practice, powers of attorney actually come in several different forms. By working with an experienced San Antonio estate planning lawyer, you can set up a power of attorney arrangement that is well-suited for your individual situation. The types of powers of attorney that most people use as part of their estate plan include:
- Durable Power of Attorney: A durable power of attorney allows a trusted party to handle your legal and financial matters in the event that you are incapacitated or otherwise unable to do so. This could include paying your mortgage or your rent, paying other bills, handling medical and caregiver expenses, paying taxes, and much more. Financial institutions, investment firms, insurance companies, and other parties are required to honor a valid POA. In fact, in 2017 the Texas legislature passed important reforms that strengthened the Texas Durable Power of Attorney Act and help to ensure that third party institutions cooperate.
- Medical Power of Attorney: A medical power of attorney is key estate planning document. Every adult in Texas should have a valid medical power of attorney in place. Unfortunately, accidents or serious medical issues can occur at any time and they can arise without warning. A medical power of attorney will allow a trusted agent to make healthcare decisions on your behalf.
- Special Power of Attorney: Finally, you may also want to set up a special power of attorney. This type of POA is used for limited and narrow purposes. It could be set up for a pre-established period of time or it could be set up for one specific task. For example, you could set up a special power of attorney to allow another person to sell your property or handle a rental listing for you. As a special power of attorney is quite flexible, it can be molded to fit your needs.
Before naming a power of attorney, it is crucial that you carefully consider the totality of your circumstances. You need to make sure that you select a person who is both trustworthy and competent to handle the responsibilities. Further, it is imperative that your power of attorney is set up in the proper manner. If it is not legally valid, the power of attorney may not be honored when you need it most. A qualified Texas lawyer can help you put powers of attorney in place that work as part of your broader estate plan.
Speak to a San Antonio Estate Planning Attorney Today
At Weisinger Law Firm, PLLC, we always take the time get to know our clients, listen to their story, and understand their objectives. Our goal is to make the estate planning process as smooth, easy, and painless as possible. We handle the full range of estate planning issues, including setting up a durable power of attorney, a medical power of attorney, a special power of attorney, and advance healthcare directives.
Do you have a question about power of attorney or estate planning in general? We are here to help. To schedule a free, fully confidential consultation, please do not hesitate to contact our San Antonio estate planning attorneys today at (210) 201-2635. With an office in Selma, we serve communities throughout Bexar County, Guadalupe County and Comal County, including in San Antonio, New Braunfels, Live Oak, and Universal City.