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Durable Powers of Attorney in Estate Planning

 Posted on April 11, 2024 in Estate Planning and Probate

Wilson County estate planning lawyerEstate planning is crucial for ensuring your wishes are carried out, and your loved ones are taken care of in the event of your incapacitation or death. While many focus on creating a will or trust, it is equally important to consider establishing a durable power of attorney (DPOA) as part of your comprehensive estate plan. A Texas lawyer can help ensure you take all the necessary steps.

What is a Durable Power of Attorney?

A durable power of attorney is a legal instrument that enables you to designate a reliable person, an agent or attorney-in-fact, to handle your decisions should you become incapacitated or otherwise unable to manage your affairs. There are two types of DPOAs in Texas: one for financial matters and another for healthcare decisions.

Financial Durable Power of Attorney

A financial DPOA grants your chosen agent the authority to handle your financial affairs, such as managing bank accounts, paying bills, and making investment decisions. Unless otherwise specified, this document becomes effective immediately upon signing and remains in effect even if you become incapacitated.

Consider carefully when selecting your agent for a financial DPOA. Choose someone you trust implicitly to act in your best interests and who possesses the necessary skills to manage your financial matters effectively.

Medical Durable Power of Attorney

A medical Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA), also referred to as a healthcare proxy or medical power of attorney, enables you to appoint an individual to make healthcare decisions for you in the event that you are incapacitated. This agent will have the authority to communicate with medical professionals, access your medical records, and make decisions regarding your treatment as long as those decisions align with your previously expressed wishes or best interests.

It is essential to discuss your healthcare preferences with your chosen agent beforehand to ensure they understand and are comfortable carrying out your wishes.

The Benefits of Having Durable Powers of Attorney

Establishing durable powers of attorney offers several key benefits:

  • Avoiding guardianship: If you become incapacitated without a DPOA in place, your family may need to go through the complex and expensive process of obtaining guardianship through the courts. Having a DPOA can help avoid this situation.
  • Maintaining control: By appointing an agent you trust, you retain a degree of control over your financial and healthcare decisions, even if you cannot make them yourself.
  • Reducing stress on loved ones: Having a DPOA in place can alleviate the burden on your loved ones during a difficult time, as they will not need to make tough decisions without your guidance.

Ensuring Your Durable Powers of Attorney are Valid in Texas

To create a legally valid DPOA in Texas, you must be at least 18 years old and mentally competent when signing. Working with an experienced estate planning attorney is crucial to drafting your durable powers of attorney. They can ensure your documents are properly executed and tailored to your needs and wishes.

Contact a Wilson County, TX Estate Planning Attorney

Incorporating durable powers of attorney into your estate plan is a smart move to protect your interests and provide peace of mind for you and your loved ones. By appointing trusted agents to handle your financial and healthcare decisions if you become incapacitated, you can maintain control over your affairs and reduce the stress on your family during challenging times. Contact a Comal County, TX estate planning lawyer to create comprehensive, legally valid, durable powers of attorney that suit your unique circumstances. Call Geoff Mayfield, Attorney at Law at 210-535-0870 for a free consultation to speak with a team with nearly two decades of providing legal solutions.

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