How To Get A Power Of Attorney In Texas – You may remember your parents helping you open your first bank account and write your first check. And even if it was a long time ago, you may not be ready for the roles to reverse where you take the financial lead for your parents. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for a parent to need an adult child’s help in managing finances, especially if that parent begins to lose mental acuity or the ability to make logical decisions.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you just start signing checks for your parents. You need the legal right to manage their finances, which you can get in one of two ways, depending on the situation. If your parents are not currently suffering from dementia or a condition that has impaired their ability to process information and make logical decisions, you and they can execute a Power of Attorney (POA). However, if your parents are incapacitated, you need to take a different approach and petition the courts for legal guardianship or conservatorship.
How To Get A Power Of Attorney In Texas
If you’d like to know more about how to get a power of attorney but aren’t sure where to start – we’ve created this guide with everything you need to know. Get a clear definition of what power of attorney is, how it works, the types of power of attorney, and how to approach the process.
Reasons To Make A Lasting Power Of Attorney
Power of attorney (POA) is a legal agreement that gives one person the right to make binding decisions on behalf of another. In this agreement, the person receiving the right is called the agent or attorney-in-fact and the person giving their right to make decisions is known as the principal. The power of attorney can be broad or limited, allowing the agent to make decisions about the principal’s medical care, property, or financial affairs.
For example, if a POA gives you the authority to make financial decisions for your mother, you are the agent and your mother is the principal.
The first step in starting the power of attorney process is recognizing when to take advantage of this opportunity. A power of attorney can be recommended for several conditions, including:
When a need for a power of attorney has been established, it is a good idea to seek legal assistance from someone who specializes in family law. Each state has unique laws surrounding power of attorney, so you will benefit from someone who can guide you through the requirements and process.
How To Get Power Of Attorney: 12 Steps (with Pictures)
The next step usually involves a discussion between the principle, agent and legal counsel to determine the range of powers to be granted. This agreement should be drafted by your attorney, and some states require signatures to be notarized. After the POA document is completed and signed, it becomes legally binding. However, the POA document can be revoked at any time by either destroying the original document and creating a new version, or by creating a formal revocation document.
General power of attorney gives the agent broad authority to make decisions relevant to several areas of the principal’s life. Examples of decisions an agent with general POA can make include the right to handle bank accounts, manage assets, and file taxes for the principal.
General POA is most often recommended if a principal will be out of the country for an extended period or if they are physically or mentally unable to manage their affairs for an extended period.
A limited power of attorney gives the agent the right to make decisions in one or more specific areas of the principal’s life. Eg. the agent can only be empowered to make decisions regarding the principal’s medical care. Furthermore, limited power of attorney can even be specific to a single transaction, such as giving an agent the right to sell a home.
How To Get Power Of Attorney For A Parent (and Not Overstep)
Limited power of attorney agreements may only be valid for a specific period of time, such as if the power of attorney will be out of the country for a predetermined number of months or years.
A durable power of attorney takes effect as soon as the principal signs it and remains in effect until the principal dies or revokes the agent’s rights. Even if the principal becomes mentally incapacitated, a durable POA will remain active. For this reason, durable POAs can be used when the agent is expected to make decisions for the principle for a long and unspecified period of time.
By comparison, any rights under a non-durable power of attorney automatically lapse if the power of attorney becomes incapacitated. Non-durable POAs are often used for single transactions and specific situations. For example, say your father forecloses on a property while traveling internationally. In that case, he could execute a non-durable POA so that you could sign the closing documents on his behalf. If your rights are limited to the single transaction, the POA will be limited as well as untenable.
A springing power of attorney delays the agent’s rights until a certain condition is met. This condition may be a future date, or more commonly it may depend on the principal’s health. Say your mom wants you to have power of attorney if she can’t function independently, but she’s not comfortable giving you those rights today. You can execute a leaping power of attorney to take effect when two doctors confirm that your mother can no longer make her own decisions.
Free Limited (special) Power Of Attorney Forms
Jumping powers of attorney are legal in most US states, but they present some challenges in practice. Doctors may be reluctant to sign off on your parent’s incapacity, and financial institutions may be wary of accepting a jump-start POA, even when it’s signed by two doctors.
Carrying out a simple power of attorney is not in itself difficult. However, since POAs are binding legal documents, you should have a basic level of knowledge of how they work before proceeding. The above information should give you a general understanding of the POA landscape, but for further guidance we have outlined the steps on how to obtain a POA for parents below.
At this point, you should have a better idea of what type of power of attorney is right for your situation. If your parent is functioning today, but has been diagnosed with a degenerative condition, for example, you will probably want a durable power of attorney. That way, you can seamlessly take over the finances and health decisions without having to be written off from her medical team. If you are concerned about your parents’ finances while they travel the world for a year, a non-durable financial power of attorney may be more appropriate.
Whatever your plan is, you need your parents to agree to it in order to move forward. Be delicate in how you present the POA concept to them, as this is usually a sensitive subject for the elderly. A good place to start is by expressing your love and concern. Then ask if they have already arranged for someone to help them with their finances and medical care if the time comes when they cannot care for themselves. You never know – they may have already executed a power of attorney with a close friend.
Free New Jersey Power Of Attorney: Make & Download
If your parents are open to executing a power of attorney with you, the next step is to talk through the details. Make sure there is a common understanding of what rights you want, when they will be effective, how long they will last and how you will use them.
The laws regarding powers of attorney vary from state to state. For that reason, it is highly recommended that you consult with an elder law attorney to prepare the POA document. That way, your POA will reflect the unique needs of you and your family. The attorney can also provide you and your parents with a detailed review of the rights granted by the POA and share scenarios in which those rights may be used.
The next step is to document the arrangement between you and your parents in the POA document itself. As mentioned, a qualified elder care attorney can prepare this document for you. It should expressly outline the extent of your rights as an agent, any exceptions to those rights, and any factors that would render the POA invalid.
Alternatively, you can find simple power of attorney forms online. Know that while these can get the job done, they are generic – and generic language can be problematic in legal situations. It cannot effectively solve your situation. And if the POA is ever contested down the road, a form you downloaded for free online may not hold up to legal scrutiny.
Power Of Attorney Guide: What Is It And How To Get It For Parents
To execute the document, you and your parents will sign the POA as agent and principal. State law dictates other requirements; usually you need two witnesses to sign or have the document notarized. Your attorney can clarify the requirements in your state.
If your parent already has some degree of cognitive impairment, you will need to take a completely different approach. Legally, a parent who is already incapacitated cannot sign a power of attorney. Even if you persuaded your parents to execute the document, a judge could invalidate the document
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