Power of attorney: how much power do agents have?

Posted by iLawyer on Jun 15th, 2022 Estate Planning, Firm News

No one wants to imagine losing their independence and ability to make rational decisions. Unfortunately, age-related ailments like dementia or a catastrophic accident can render you incapacitated and thus unable to make decisions for yourself.

Including a power of attorney (POA) in your estate plan allows you to nominate someone you trust to make healthcare and financial decisions on your behalf should you lose the capacity to do so yourself.

Important provisions when creating a POA in Texas

Your designated power of attorney does not have to be an attorney. However, it helps if they are conversant with important skills like financial management. To be valid, a Texas POA must meet the following requirements:

  • It must be duly signed in the presence of two witnesses
  • It must be accompanied by a disclosure agreement

So what can a power of attorney do?

Generally, the powers you bestow on your designated agent will depend on the provisions you include in your documents. Some of the decisions your healthcare power of attorney may make include the following:

  • The kind of medical care you will receive
  • The doctors who will treat you
  • The nursing home you will live in
  • Whether you should be placed on life support and for how long.

A financial power of attorney, on the other hand, will be responsible for the following:

  • File your taxes
  • Make and receive payments on your behalf
  • Manage your assets
  • Apply for public benefits on your behalf

However, there are things a power of attorney cannot do. Here are some of them:

  • Revising your will and other estate planning documents
  • Violating their fiduciary duty to you
  • Transfer or change the provisions in the POA
  • Making decisions on your behalf when you pass on

A power of attorney is an important estate planning tool. Find out how a properly composed power of attorney can safeguard your rights and interests when you are no longer able to make important decisions on your own.