Designating a Power of Attorney (P.O.A.) can be frightening. Many people, especially the elderly, feel like they are giving up control if they designate a P.O.A. In actuality, designating one helps a person remain in control. By saying who you want making decisions if you are unable, you have the power to choose the person you trust most to follow your wishes.
The two most common types of P.O.A.'s are the Durable Power of Attorney and the Medical Power of Attorney. It is not uncommon for these two P.O.A.'s to be given to different persons. It is also not uncommon, and sometimes wise to designate more than one person for each, depending on family dynamics.
The Durable Power of Attorney grants authority to act on a persons behalf in most financial matters. These could include banking, purchasing or selling property, gifting money, or transferring assets. The authority granted in the Durable P.O.A. can be wide or limited, depending on a persons needs.
The Medical Power of Attorney grants the designated person or persons authority to make healthcare decisions if you are unable to make them yourself. This P.O.A. allows Doctors, Hospitals, Nursing Homes, and any other Healthcare provider to discuss medical conditions and treatment options with the designated person, should you become unable to communicate or make decisions on your own. If a person has DNR in place, a P.O.A. cannot override these wishes.
It is not necessary to pay costly lawyer fees in order to implement a P.O.A. All you have to do is find one you like, print it, fill it in, and sign it before a Notary. Most banks offer Notary services for free to their customers. In most cases, 2 witnesses may be used in place of a Notary. These witnesses should not be a relative, a direct care giver, a person who is owed money by you, or anyone who would stand to gain should anything happen to you.
The most important thing to remember is, a person who has been designated P.O.A. does not have the authority to override the grantor's wishes, and a person can revoke a P.O.A. at any time. Designating a P.O.A. while you are still healthy and mentally alert, ensures that your wishes are heard and adhered to, and saves your family unnecessary frustration and money down the road, should you require assistance
For a printable Texas Durable Power of Attorney click here
For a printable Medical Power of Attorney click here