Texas Medical Power of Attorney Requirements

Preparing for potential medical emergencies is important in creating a comprehensive estate plan. If you become incapacitated due to an illness or injury, you may need to establish legal arrangements to respect your healthcare wishes. One essential tool that Texans can utilize is a medical power of attorney. This legal document allows individuals to appoint someone who can make medical decisions if they cannot act or speak for themselves.

To ensure you have an effective and valid medical power of attorney in Texas, it’s crucial to understand the requirements surrounding these documents before setting one up. Certain state-specific criteria must be met to ensure that your medical power of attorney will be upheld during your incapacitation. 

Below, we expand on the key requirements of a medical power of attorney in Texas, including witness eligibility, time of effectiveness, the extent of an agent’s authority, and the alternative decision-making process without a power of attorney. Speak directly with our team about setting up your own medical power of attorney in Texas.


Requirements for a Medical Power of Attorney in Texas

Medical powers of attorney, or “medical POAs,” are useful tools that allow you to designate someone to make medical decisions when you can’t make them for yourself. To create a valid medical POA in Texas, there are specific requirements that you have to meet:

  • You must be over the age of 18
  • You must be of sound mind
  • You must be acting of your own accord, without outside influence, pressure, or coercion
  • You must read and sign a disclosure statement to indicate that you understand the purpose of a medical power of attorney

In addition to these conventional requirements, your medical power of attorney must be witnessed or notarized. This means that for your medical POA to be considered valid, it must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  1. You signed the POA in the presence of two witnesses, who also signed the document
  2. You signed the POA in the presence of a notary public

If you cannot physically sign the medical power of attorney yourself, it’s acceptable to have someone sign for you, as long as they do so in your presence at your direction.


Can Anyone Be a Witness?

While creating and witnessing a medical POA is relatively straightforward, it’s important to remember the requirements, including those surrounding witnesses. In Texas, certain people will not be eligible to be witnesses to the signing of a medical POA. Firstly, both witnesses must be over 18 for their medical power of attorney to be valid. Also, at least one of your witnesses must meet the following criteria:

  1. Is not a relative by blood or marriage
  2. Is not a beneficiary to any part of your estate 
  3. Is not your attending physician
  4. Is not employed by your attending physician


When Does a Medical Power of Attorney Become Effective?

Once you have signed and executed a medical power of attorney in Texas, it becomes effective immediately. By doing so, you grant your agent the authority to make medical decisions on your behalf in the event of your incapacitation. This authority remains effective indefinitely unless you have included a specific termination date in the document or if you opt to revoke the POA.

If your medical POA specifies a termination date but is deemed incapacitated, the document remains effective until you regain competency. Always consider the inclusion of termination dates in your medical power of attorney and the possible repercussions of revoking it. Without a valid medical POA, your healthcare decisions will be left up to individuals who may not uphold or be aware of your medical preferences.


When Does the Agent Have Authority to Act?

In Texas, a medical power of attorney grants authority to your chosen agent to act on your behalf, but this authority is contingent upon certain conditions. It’s important to note that your agent can only make decisions for you if you cannot make them yourself. This means that, until you become incapacitated, you still possess full authority.

Once you become incapacitated, the agent you designated can make healthcare decisions on your behalf. Specifically, your attending physician must certify in writing that, based on their reasonable medical judgment, you have been deemed incompetent and incapable of making decisions for yourself. However, it’s crucial to specify the scope of your agent’s legal powers within the document itself. You can grant your agent broad powers to make all medical decisions or limit their authority to specific treatments or circumstances. 


Who Makes Medical Decisions if I Don’t Have a Power of Attorney?

Texas law provides an alternative decision-making process if you do not have a medical POA in place. The law establishes a hierarchy of individuals authorized to make medical decisions on your behalf without a power of attorney. Generally, authority is granted to your relatives or other specified individuals in the following order:

  • Your spouse
  • Your adult children
  • Your parents
  • Your siblings
  • An individual identified to act on your behalf before you became incapacitated or your nearest living relative

Conflicts can arise among family members regarding healthcare decisions and incapacitation, leading to additional stress and delayed action. To avoid potential disputes and ensure your healthcare preferences are upheld, creating a medical power of attorney and appointing an agent you can trust to respect your wishes is advisable.


Use TrustHandled to Create Your Documents 

If you want a solid estate plan that safeguards your healthcare preferences, creating a medical power of attorney is a surprisingly simple, proactive step. Fortunately, there is an easy way you can accomplish this from the comfort of your home. TrustHandled offers a user-friendly online platform where you can efficiently create your personalized legal documents, including medical POA forms tailored to Texas requirements. 

TrustHandled ensures that your documents are accurate, legally binding, and reflect your specific wishes without dealing with expensive attorney’s fees or inconvenient in-office meetings. Start your estate plan by visiting TrustHandled and creating your medical power of attorney today. If can protect you and your family.