This article provides information on powers of attorney, advance directives, living wills, and other end-of-life documents. This material is excerpted from an article by Judon Fambrough of the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University.
What end-of-life documents might I need?
The Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University—pointing out that in Texas, the average age of a licensed real estate professional was 54, as of 2012—published this article exploring the estate planning and end-of-life documents available under Texas law.
Texas has a large and growing elderly population, who should "give thought to their future business and health care decisions."
The article discusses:
- self-proving wills,
- durable powers of attorney (to manage your assets when you are unable to do so),
- living wills, and
- medical powers of attorney (to make advance critical medical decisions or grant the authority to others).
The article explains more about the above documents (among others), and includes links to the forms.
Powers of Attorney
By executing a Power of Attorney, you (the principal) grant another person, called an attorney-in-fact or agent, the authority to manage your assets, among other things.
You decide how long the agent serves and the scope of his or her authority. Your attorney-in-fact should be someone you trust, even though this person owes you a fiduciary duty to serve in your best interests. For married couples, this is generally the spouse (divorce ends a power of attorney). The duration of the agent’s authority depends on whether you make it durable or not.
According to the statute, a Durable Power of Attorney gives the agent the continued authority to act, notwithstanding subsequent disability or incapacity.
A Special Power ofAttorney is different because limits the authority to specific tasks.
The Advance Directives Act is in Chapter 166 of the Texas Health & Safety Code.
There are three types of advance medical directives: Living Wills, Medical Powers of Attorney, and DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) Orders. Any competent adult may, at any time, execute a written advance directive.
End-of-Life Documents explains more about advance directives in Texas, and includes links to the forms.
Click the link below to view the full PDF document
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