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How does a durable power of attorney work in Texas?

Residents who are taking the necessary steps to protect themselves and their estates will want to know all the different tools that can be used under estate planning laws. One is a durable power of attorney. With a durable power of attorney, there will be another person (an agent) who is granted the power to make decisions on behalf of the person (the principal), when the principal is unable to do so. This can involve health care and end of life care, among others.

The designated person can be anyone whom the principal trusts with these important decisions. These decisions include whether the principal should be placed on life support, and whether to use extraordinary measures to keep the principal alive.

For a durable power of attorney to be legal, it must be signed in the presence of two or more subscribing witnesses. The principal has the right to designate alternative agents. But, it can be revoked. This can be done orally or in writing, but it must specify the intent to revoke it or execute a subsequent power of attorney for another agent. And, if can be revoked if there is a divorce, and the spouse was the agent. For a durable power of attorney to be valid, if it was executed in another state, it must still comply with Texas law.

When there are concerns about a person who might become incapacitated and unable to make decisions about the future on his or her own, a durable power of attorney can be useful. They can also be a useful estate planning tool generally. And, when deciding on how best to formulate a durable power of attorney or to consider other alternatives, having legal help from a law firm that specializes in these matters, as well as trustees, executors and fiduciaries, is crucial.

Source: StateLaws.FindLaw.com, "Texas Durable Power of Attorney Laws," accessed on Feb. 6, 2018

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