Estate planning allows adults of all ages to plan for the future and protect their assets. A power of attorney is a legal document that allows a person, referred to as the ‘principal,’ to assign someone, referred to as an ‘agent,’ the responsibility of making financial decisions on their behalf, if they are ever unable to make decisions for themselves.
Why have a power of attorney?
Assigning someone power of attorney is an essential part of the estate planning process. Power of attorney can be useful in many scenarios. For instance, if you need someone to sign a property deed on your behalf while you are out of town or need someone to handle your financial matters if you become physically or mentally incapacitated.
Types of power of attorney
There are various types of power of attorney that you can consider depending on your personal needs. Some of these types include:
- General power of attorney- Gives agent power in various situations involving the principal
- Limited power of attorney- Gives agent power in a specific situation involving the principal
- Durable power of attorney- Gives agent power when the principal becomes physically or mentally incapacitated
- Medical power of attorney- Gives agent power with regards to medical decisions involving the principal
Assigning power of attorney
In Texas, you must be at least 18 years of age and of sound mind when you sign the Power of Attorney form. The form also must be signed in front of a notary public and if being used for real estate transactions, the form must be filed with the county clerk where the property is located.
There is a Statutory Durable Power of Attorney form in the Texas Estates Code, which allows people to assign various types of power to another person. There is also a Medical Power of Attorney form needed to assign power to another person relating to medical care decisions.