Don’t Think You Need a Power of Attorney: Think Again! [Part II]

This is the continuation of our discussion of the benefits to be derived from a power of attorney in Texas. Even if you have not gotten around to having a complete estate plan developed, this simple document can solve many problems including incapacity planning, authorization for medical treatment for your children and more. If you have not yet read the first installment in this series, it may be helpful to do so before proceeding.

Medical Care for Personal Injury: If you are injured in a motor vehicle crash or other accident so that you are unconscious or in a coma, a durable power of attorney for medical decisions can empower the person of your choice to execute medical decision and authorize medical treatments and test on your behalf. While a family member could go to court and seek a guardianship, this process involves formal court proceedings and medical testimony so it can cause unnecessary delay and entail avoidable expense. If you have a durable power of attorney prepared and provided to the person that you wish to make medical decisions if you become unable to do so, this will make the process simple, efficient and inexpensive.

Management of Financial and Business Affairs: If you are suddenly incapacitated by a catastrophic medical emergency like a heart attack or stroke or suffer other injuries that render you incapable of managing your financial affairs, a Texas durable power of attorney can provide authorization to someone you select to manage your business or finances. Again, this can be done under court supervision when a family member or someone else close to you files for a guardianship, but this is comparatively costly and will result in delay so there may be no one with apparent authority to act to protect your financial interest in the interim. Further, the person who will watch out for your financial interest will be selected by a judge who may not appoint the person who you would choose if the decision were left up to you.

Once you have made the decision to have a durable power of attorney prepared, you must consider how to go about crafting this estate planning instrument. While many people use standard forms that can be obtained in office supply stores or self-help legal books, this can lead to disastrous results. There is no assurance that these documents comply with Texas law. Further, any pro-forma power of attorney form will be a crudely written catch-all document that may not meet your particular needs or concerns. The standardized form may be too broad and grant authority to perform tasks that you are not comfortable delegating or too narrow in failing to authorize crucial tasks.

When you retain experienced Texas Estate Planning Attorney Tom Reino, he discusses your specific objectives and so that he can customize a power of attorney to fit your unique situation. Further, you can be confident that the document will comply with Texas legal requirements. If you have questions or need estate planning documents prepared, we invite you to contact us at 817.303.2133 or send us an email at tom@tomreinolaw.com so that you can set up an initial consultation.

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