In the later stages of life, it’s important to understand how you can still help your loved ones through otherwise trying times. Especially in the case of aging parents, children need to be aware of the steps they can take to ensure their proper care, as well as the safeguarding of their assets and interests.
The best way to accomplish this is through power of attorney, but the process can become a bit complicated with a parent that is already mentally or physically incapacitated. You’ll need some form of qualified legal counsel to help you navigate how to get power of attorney for an elderly parent in Texas.
So, how to get power of attorney? We’ve simplified this otherwise time-consuming task to make things easier for you. Throughout this post, you’ll find a basic primer dealing with how to get power of attorney in Texas, what power of attorney is, and what sort of rights it guarantees.
Read on to get yourself well-prepared and totally primed for this common legal procedure.
How to Get Power of Attorney in Texas: What is a Power of Attorney?
Before delving into how to get power of attorney in Texas, it’s helpful to have a basic understanding of what power of attorney actually is.
Power of attorney is a written authorization that gives someone authority to make decisions on behalf of a loved one that has become incapacitated. Basically, your loved one (the principal) is giving you (the agent) the authority to act in certain situations on their behalf when they no longer have the agency to do so.
Power of attorney can cover almost everything relating to the life of your loved ones to varying degrees, including (but not limited to):
- Real Estate
- Financial Deals
- Asset Management
In essence, the agent in a power of attorney can make decisions on every major facet of their loved ones life. Because of this, the agent must be chosen with care – it should quite literally be someone that the principal trusts with their life.
Types of Power of Attorney in Texas
Generally speaking, there are five different types of power of attorney to be aware of in Texas. It’s best to discuss your personal situation with your Ft. Worth estate planning attorney. These include:
General Power of Attorney – The agent has the authority to act in a widely encompassing range of matters. This power of attorney ends if the principal becomes mentally or physically disabled or otherwise incapacitated.
Limited Power of Attorney – The agent only has the authority to handle a specific matter, or a matter that is time-sensitive.
Durable Power of Attorney – The same guidelines as a general power of attorney, but this power of attorney continues even if the principal becomes mentally or physically disabled. In Texas, this is referred to as Texas Statutory Durable Power of Attorney.
Springing Power of Attorney – The agent has authority only if and when the principal becomes incapacitated.
Medical Power of Attorney – The agent has authority to make medical decisions for the principal if the principal becomes mentally or physically unable to make the decisions for themselves. In Texas, this is referred to as Texas Medical Power of Attorney. Of course, there are also medicaid asset protections in Texas to also be aware of.
How to Get Power of Attorney for an Elderly Parent in Texas
When considering how to get power of attorney in Texas for elderly or aging parents, there are three ways someone can go about it. The method of obtaining power of attorney will depend on the specific situation you and your parent are faced with. For example, if your parent has fallen ill but is still mentally aware of what is going on, or your parent is already incapacitated and doesn’t have the ability to make decisions. This is a common area of concern and question, as illustrated by common coverage at organizations like AARP.
Three ways to obtain power of attorney include:
Parent is of Sound Mind – Your parent must be of sound mind in order to sign over power of attorney to you. This means your parent fully understands the rights and privileges they are about to sign over, as well as the kinds of decisions that can be made on their behalf. If these standards are met, the power of attorney can simply be signed over.
Living Will – In this situation, your parent may already be incapacitated, but they’ve outlined who they’d like as power of attorney in a living will. If this is the case, nothing further needs to be done.
Conservatorship – You’ll need to present yourself before a judge to obtain conservatorship status if your parent is already incapacitated and hasn’t outlined a power of attorney in a living will. This is often time-consuming and you’ll need to deal with the courts. This is why you need to carefully choose an estate planning attorney in Southlake, TX when making these important decisions.
The state of Texas provides power of attorney forms online, in the Texas statutes, or in local libraries. However, the verbiage may be confusing and hard to navigate for most – the best option is to consult with a legal expert before trying to figure out how to get power of attorney. We at Thomas Walters, PLLC would be glad to speak with you about your specific situation, discussing what is best for you and your family, and welcome your phone call.