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Choose someone to act in financial matters on your behalf by executing a power of attorney (POA). FindLaw’s guided process means you can complete your own POA quickly and easily.

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Power of Attorney

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Do I really need a power of attorney in Texas?

If you were in an accident today and lost the capacity to make decisions for yourself, who would ensure that your mortgage and rent are paid? Who would be able to access your bank account to pay your medical bills?

A power of attorney can give you and your loved one’s peace of mind if you ever become unable to make decisions for yourself. You can give someone the power to make financial decisions, buy or sell property, and pay your bills with a power of attorney.

If you do not have both powers of attorney, then a court will intervene and appoint a guardian to manage your financial affairs. Court involvement could cause conflict between your family members. A power of attorney can help avoid arguments between your loved ones by clarifying who you want to make decisions for you.

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Written by:

Jeff Burtka, Esq.

Contributing Author

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Reviewed by:

Bridget Molitor, J.D.

Managing Editor

How it works

The process takes less than an hour, and you can complete it from the comfort of your home

Create an account

Create a secure account which is accessible through an easy dashboard you can access any time

Gather information

Indicate who your agent will be and what authority you want them to have

Complete your document

Answer all questions, then we’ll generate your digital documents for downloading, printing, and signing

Make it legal

Carefully follow the instructions provided in the form, which may include signing your documents in front of witnesses or a notary

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Plan for your future with confidence

This free guide will help you:

  • Learn the most common estate planning terms

  • Understand the essential estate planning tools

  • Gather critical information with an estate planning checklist

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Steps to get a power of attorney form in Texas

Follow these steps:

Understand how a POA works in Texas

A power of attorney is a document in which a person (the principal) gives authority to another person (the agent) to make decisions on the principal’s behalf.

Principals can give their agents broad powers or limited powers through a power of attorney.

Find a form

If you want a power of attorney, you can hire an attorney to help you or do it yourself.

We offer an easy way to fill out and download a form yourself. If you do not hire an attorney, using these forms can help ensure that you have a valid power of attorney, provided you follow the instructions.

Texas law also has powers of attorney in its statutes. The statutory durable power of attorney form is available at Section 752.051 of the Texas Estates Code.

Decide who your agent should be

You should give serious thought to what powers you want to delegate and who your agent should be. Choose someone responsible, trustworthy, comfortable with financial institutions, and who makes good choices.

Decide what powers you want to delegate to your agent

You can give your agents the ability to make almost every decision you could legally make for yourself. You can also limit the powers you give. Your powers of attorney can limit your agents’ powers to types of transactions or even very specific transactions.

However, you should be careful about limiting an agent’s powers under a durable power of attorney. If you limit their powers too much, they will not be able to make important decisions for you while you are incapacitated.

Fill out the form

Now that you know who is involved and what powers you want to give, fill out your form.

A durable power of attorney must be a “writing or other record” signed by the principal that names an agent to act on behalf of the principal. It does not need to use the term “power of attorney,” but you should use those words to avoid confusion.

A durable power of attorney must include one of the two following phrases or similar words that make it clear the agent’s authority will not cease if the principal is incapacitated. It is best to use one of the following phrases:

  • “This power of attorney is not affected by subsequent disability or incapacity of the principal”; or
  • “This power of attorney becomes effective on the disability or incapacity of the principal.”

If you want your power of attorney to be effective when you sign it, use the first option. If you want it to be effective only when you are incapacitated, use the second option. If your power of attorney fails to include one of the above phrases or similar language, it will not be a durable power of attorney. It will be considered a general power of attorney, meaning the agent’s powers cease upon your incapacity.

Finally, sign your power of attorney

Whether or not you use a statutory form, the durable power of attorney must be appropriately signed to be valid. Note that a principal (you) must be an adult and competent for their signature to be valid. You must acknowledge it before a notary public or another person authorized to administer oaths. We offer instructions on how to sign the document as part of our form packet.

A durable power of attorney does not need to be witnessed in Texas.

 

Give copies to your agent and financial institutions

Finally, give copies of your power of attorney to your agent and any financial institutions you believe should have it.

A photocopy or electronic copy of a properly executed durable power of attorney is valid. A third party can rely on it as if it were the original.

You may want to speak with a lawyer if:

  • You don’t know who to choose as your agent
  • You want to use a POA for Medicaid planning
  • You want to discuss which powers you should give your agent
  • You want legal review of your completed power of attorney
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Texas power of attorney frequently asked questions

The two most common types are the statutory durable power of attorney and the medical power of attorney. But there are several other powers of attorney that can be used in Texas. Different attorneys may use different names for some of these, so make sure to describe to the attorney exactly what you want. FindLaw’s forms cover financial powers of attorney, and we also offer health care directives and living wills for individuals who want to plan for health emergencies.

General Power of Attorney

Like a statutory durable power of attorney, this power of attorney gives your agent powers over your finances. You can specify broad or limited powers. There is no statutory form for this type of power of attorney. Unlike a durable power of attorney, your agent’s authority will cease when you become incapacitated.

Authorization Agreement for Nonparent Adult Caregiver

If you are going to leave your children with an adult who is not a parent for several weeks or months, you will want them to be able to make decisions for your children. This document is the equivalent of a power of attorney for childcare. It allows an adult caregiver to make most of the decisions for your children that you would be able to make as a parent. This includes decisions about health care, school enrollment, financial matters, and participation in sports and extracurricular activities.

Real Estate Power of Attorney

The statutory durable power of attorney form allows you to give your agent the power to conduct a broad range of real property transactions, including buying, selling, managing, and leasing real estate. If you do not want to use the statutory form, you can use a shorter form that lists the specific powers for real estate you wish to grant. You can also decide whether the real estate powers survive incapacity and if they terminate upon completion of a specific transaction.

Tax Power of Attorney

The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts requires this type of power of attorney if you want to designate an agent to represent you in tax matters before that agency.

Power of Attorney for Motor Vehicle Transactions

The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles has forms to use when you want to designate an agent to purchase, transfer, and assign the legal title to your motor vehicle.

You do not need a lawyer for a power of attorney. You can use the forms we offer to create your own durable power of attorney. As long as you follow our instructions, including signing and notarizing your document, you will have a valid power of attorney.

However, if you have complicated health, family, or financial concerns, an estate planning attorney can help you draft your powers of attorney. If you want to create a general power of attorney or designate powers that are not listed in the statutes, an attorney can help you create a legally valid power of attorney.

When choosing an agent, you should pick someone you trust to make decisions with your best interests at heart. Having a conversation with your agent and alternate agents about your personal values can help them make decisions. A conversation also can make them feel less stressed about making decisions on your behalf.

Under a power of attorney, you can give your agent broad or specific powers. A power of attorney can even name more than one agent and have them act as co-agents. But, you will need to specify whether they must act independently, jointly, or by majority rule.

It is usually better to have one agent and name alternate agents who will act if your first choice is unavailable. If you feel more comfortable with one person managing your property and another one making decisions for you about litigation, you can have separate durable powers of attorney for each.

A financial power of attorney can last for a short time or indefinitely. It depends on the type of power of attorney, whether you choose a limited duration, whether you revoke it, or whether it is revoked by a court or statute.

Regardless of any time limits listed in the power of attorney, a power of attorney will terminate when any of the following events happen:

  • The principal dies
  • The principal revokes it
  • The purpose of the power of attorney is accomplished (for example, if an agent only has the authority to sell your house, the power of attorney will terminate when the sale is complete)
  • The agent dies or becomes incapacitated, and there are no alternate agents
  • The agent is a spouse, and the principal and agent divorce (unless the power of attorney states that the agent’s authority will survive a divorce)
  • A court appoints a guardian to make healthcare or financial decisions

Creating a new durable power of attorney does not automatically revoke a previous durable power of attorney. To revoke a previous durable power of attorney, your new one should expressly state that it revokes all previous powers of attorney or the specific power of attorney you wish to revoke.

If you use a durable power of attorney that complies with Texas law and your agent presents it to another person, they must accept the agent’s authority. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule.

Before accepting the agent’s authority, a third party can:

  • Request an agent’s certification under Section 751.203
  • Request an opinion of a lawyer about the validity of the power of attorney
  • Request an English translation of the power of attorney

If a principal or agent does not present one of the above documents to the person requesting it, then that person is not required to accept the durable power of attorney.

A person does not need to accept a durable power of attorney if they would not be required to do business with the principal under the same circumstances. The statute lists several situations when a durable power does not need to be honored, including:

  • It is inconsistent with state or federal laws
  • The person has a good faith belief that the principal or agent has a criminal history of financial crimes
  • The person has had previous bad business relationships with the agent
  • The power of attorney is not valid
  • The agent does not have authority under a valid power of attorney to complete the specific transaction (for example, an agent only has authority to sell a house but is trying to sell the principal’s car)
  • Co-agents give the person conflicting instructions

The above list does not include every reason that someone can refuse a durable power of attorney under Texas law. If you think you have another valid reason to refuse to accept a power of attorney, you should refer to the statute or consult with an attorney.

It can be difficult to watch your parents age, and it is even tougher to watch them lose their mental capacity. Before your elderly parents’ health begins slipping, you should ask them whether they have powers of attorney for their finances.

If they do, ask them how old the powers of attorney are and if their agents are still alive and capable of serving. If the documents are several years old, they should review it to ensure it is still valid and that their agents are able to serve.

If they do not have powers of attorney and are competent, they can create a power of attorney. However, if they are not of sound mind, you will need to petition a court to have yourself or another adult appointed as their guardian to make decisions for them.

Most powers of attorney do not need to be filed with a court. However, suppose a power of attorney is used for a real estate transaction that generally must be recorded. In that case, the power of attorney must also be filed with the county clerk. For example, this would have to be done for a deed, a mortgage, or a lien.

For powers of attorney that do not have filing requirements, you should give copies to the following people and entities:

  • Your agent
  • Your primary physician and any physicians, hospital, or health care facilities who will provide health care services (medical power of attorney)
  • Businesses or people that you know your agent will be dealing with on your behalf (financial powers of attorney)

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