Texas Durable Power Of Attorney
Q: I live in Texas. Someone told my 88 yr old mom that she should sign a durable power of attorney that would permit me to pay her bills and make decisions about her assets if she should become incapacitated. She wants to do it. Is this what we need, and who signs it, do you need a lawyer to do this, witnesses, etc.? I found a power of atty form in my wife's family lawyer software. Is this the same form, and if so, what do I do with it?
A: Maybe. Maybe not. Does it say that it takes effect if and when the signer becomes incapacitated? Does it give the agent (attorney-in-fact) general power to pay her bills, make decisions about her assets, and do anything else that you can think of that you might need or want to do as her agent if she is incapacitated? If yes, then it is the same form. Complete the form by filling in blanks, crossing things out, and/or writing things in, so that it gives the powers that you want and your mom agrees that it should have, being sure that you aren't leaving anything out that needs to be in, that you aren't putting anything in that ought to be left out, and that it is in compliance with your state's laws governing durable powers of attorney. Be sure that your mom understands what it says and means, and that she agrees to it. Have her sign it, with whatever witness(es) and/or notarization your state's law requires. Check to see if your state's law requires that it be filed in some public office, and if so, do it. A local lawyer would likely be able to do a better job than you, and might even save you from some terrible mistake or oversight. Cross out some powers, restrictions, or other provisions. Perhaps write in some additional powers, restrictions, or other provisions.
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