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Estate Planning for Police, Fire, and Medical Personnel (Dallas Bar Association)

Wills & Estate Planning

These estate planning documents were created for emergency responders such as law enforcement, firefighters, and medical professionals, but anyone can use them.

The Dallas Bar Association and Dallas Volunteer Attorneys Program offer these free estate planning forms and resources to first responders and healthcare workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. The forms provided include a Medical Power of Attorney, Living Will, HIPAA Authorization, Statutory Durable Power of Attorney, Declaration of Guardian, and Handwritten Will Instructions. These resources are intended to help these individuals quickly settle important matters for themselves and their families during the pandemic. Links to videos explaining these basic estate planning documents are included.

Planning Forms

You may wish to print, complete and sign to put your affairs in order as needed to give you some peace of mind. Most of the forms provided are derived from statutory versions passed by the Texas Legislature, but access to the forms presented resulted from sources to whom credit was given on the webpage, for which we are also most grateful. The webpage provides:

  • planning forms for your signature;
  • summaries of the forms;
  • additional lawyer video explanations; and
  • an article explaining how to successfully complete and execute the forms.  

Medical Power of Attorney

The Medical Power of Attorney is a statutory form used to name an agent to make medical treatment decisions for you should you later become incapacitated. It can help you avoid the need for a Guardian of the Person. 

Signing: Requires two adult witnesses (one of whom must The form document from the Texas Guardianship Manual 4th Edition was provided to the Dallas Bar Association compliments of TexasBarBooks.be qualified) or a notary.

Video - Attorney Explanation of Medical Power of Attorney Form (Rebekah Brooker) 

 

Directive to Physicians (Living Will)

The Directive to Physicians (Living Will) is a statutory form used to specify whether life support will be withheld or withdrawn when you are incapacitated and are in a “terminal condition” or an “irreversible condition.” It helps you avoid the need for a Guardian of the Person if an agent is named. 

Signing:  Requires two adult witnesses (one of whom must be qualified) or a notary. 

The Dallas Bar Association derived this form document from the Texas Guardianship Manual 4th Edition, compliments of TexasBarBooks.

Video - Attorney Explanation of Directive to Physician Form (Rebekah Brooker)

HIPAA Authorization for Release of Protected Health Information

The HIPAA Authorization for Release of Protected Health Information authorizes your health providers to release your Private Health Information to designated persons in compliance with federal HIPAA requirements. Signing: Requires only your signature. 

This form was provided compliments of the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program of Legal Aid of Northwest Texas.

Video - Attorney Explanation of HIPPA Authorization (Rebekah Brooker)

Statutory Durable Power of Attorney

The Statutory Durable Power of Attorney names an agent or agents to handle your property and financial affairs, which can be effective upon signing or only upon becoming incapacitated and allows you to grant specific or all statutory defined powers. Can avoid a Guardian of the Estate. Signing: Requires a Notary. 

Form document from the Texas Guardianship Manual 4th Edition provided to the Dallas Bar Association compliments of TexasBarBooks.

Video - Attorney Explanation of Statutory Durable Power of Attorney (Greg Sampson) 

Declaration of Guardian if Later Need Arises

The Declaration of Guardian if Later Need Arises allows you to name a guardian of your person and guardian of your estate for the court to appoint if you later become incapacitated. It can disqualify certain persons from serving as your guardian. It may not be needed if you have a Medical Power of Attorney and Durable Power of Attorney. 

Signing: May be entirely handwritten by you and signed without witnesses, or typed and signed with two witnesses, and may also be self-proved with a notary. Witnesses are required when naming disqualified persons, otherwise may only need a notary. 

Form document from the Texas Guardianship Manual 4th Edition provided to the Dallas Bar Association compliments of TexasBarBooks.

Video - Attorney Explanation of Declaration of Guardian if Later Need Arises (Greg Sampson)

Declaration of Guardian for Children

The Declaration of Guardian for Children allows you to name a guardian of the person and/or guardian of the estate (if any) for a minor child or incapacitated adult child for the court to appoint if you are deceased or incapacitated.  Appointment can also be made in a valid will to take effect upon your death. The remaining parent is a natural guardian of the person. 

Signing: It may be entirely handwritten by you and signed without witnesses, or typed and signed with two witnesses, and may also be self-proved with a notary. Form document from the Texas Guardianship Manual 4th Edition provided compliments of TexasBarBooks.

Video - Attorney Explanation of Declaration of Guardian for Children (Greg Sampson)

Handwritten (Holographic) Will Instructions

These are Handwritten (Holographic) Will Instructions for a very simple handwritten will that requires only the testator's signature if the will is written entirely in the testator’s handwriting. It is intended as an emergency measure for use until a more comprehensive will can be prepared by a lawyer. Provided to Dallas Bar Association by Houston Volunteer Lawyers program.

Video - Attorney Explanation on how to draft a Holographic Will (Jack Fan)

Learn More

Read End-of-Life Documents by Judon Fambrough of the Texas A&M Real Estate Center, which summarizes the law and explains what these planning documents accomplish.

Visit Police, Fire, and Medical Personnel Planning Forms, which is the original Dallas Bar Association page that provides these forms and videos.

Related Guides

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    Use this guide to create a Transfer on Death Deed that names who will inherit your property after you die.
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  • Handwritten Wills Checklist

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    A “holographic” will is simply a will that is entirely in your own handwriting.
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    Related Forms

  • Medical Power of Attorney (Dallas Bar Association)

    DBA-101

    Use to give a person the right to make medical decisions in the event of incapacity.
  • Directive to Physicians - Living Will (Dallas Bar Association)

    DBA-102-Directive to Physicians - Living Will

    Use form to choose end-of-life medical care and treatment when condition is terminal or irreversible.
  • HIPAA Authorization for Release of Protected Health Information (Dallas Bar Association)

    DBA-103-HIPAA Authorization for Release of Protected Health Information

    Use form to authorize release of protected health information to chosen entities or individuals.
  • Statutory Durable Power of Attorney (Dallas Bar Association)

    DBA-104-Statutory Durable Power of Attorney

    Statutory form. Use form to name an agent to make property and financial decisions on your behalf. Requires a notary.
  • Declaration of Guardian for Minor Form (Dallas Bar Association)

    DBA-106-Declaration of Guardian for Minor Form

    For parents to choose legal guardians for their children if parents die or become incapacitated.
  • Designation of Guardian in Event of Later Incapacity or Need of Guardian (Dallas Bar Association)

    DBA-105-Designation of Guardian in Event of Later Incapacity or Need of Guardian

    Use form to name a legal guardian in case you cannot make decisions and become incapacitated.