Power of Attorney
A “power of attorney” is a written document that authorizes someone (referred to as the agent) to make decisions or take actions on someone else's (known as the principal) behalf.
In Texas, there are several kinds of powers of attorney that will grant the agent the right to accomplish different things on the principal's behalf. This guide will present information about the various kinds, help you understand which may be best for your situation, and link to forms when available.
Powers of Attorney — Fact Sheet
TexasLawHelp.org hosts this fact sheet created by Texas RioGrande Legal Aid that explains what a power of attorney is and what the different kinds are used for. This is a great general overview of the concept of a power of attorney.
Powers of Attorney: Information and Answers
The Legal Hotline for Texans has written this explanation of the different powers of attorney, what they do, and when they end.
End of Life Documents
The Texas A&M Real Estate Center has written this article that discusses durable powers of attorney, medical powers of attorney, and other advance directives. The article links to forms throughout.
What does it do?
A "general power of attorney" is a document that grants the agent very broad rights to act on behalf of the principal.
How long does it last?
A general power of attorney ends:
After a time period specified in the document (Restatement of the Law - Agency, 3d § 3.09);
Once a specified task has been accomplished (Restatement of the Law - Agency, 3d § 3.09);
When the principal dies (Restatement of the Law - Agency, 3d § 3.07);
When the principal is deemed to be incapacitated (Restatement of the Law - Agency, 3d § 3.08); or
When the power of attorney is revoked by the principal (Restatement of the Law - Agency, 3d § 3.10).
Why would I need one?
General powers of attorney are used to allow someone to act for you in a wide variety of matters. For example, general powers of attorney are often used in business dealings to allow an employee to enter into contracts, sell property, spend money, and take other actions on behalf of their client. You may wish to create a general power of attorney if you are still capable of managing your own affairs but would like to have someone else take care of them for you.
Because general powers of attorney terminate when someone is incapacitated, they are not ideal for end-of-life planning or medical directives. Medical powers of attorney and durable powers of attorney (ones that last after or begin upon the incapacitation of the principal) are better alternatives for these situations.
Limited Powers of Attorney
Limited, or special, powers of attorney grant someone else the right to perform very specific actions for you.
Limited Power of Attorney for Eligible Motor Vehicle Transactions
This form from the Texas DMV grants the grantee full power and authority to perform every act necessary and proper to purchase, transfer, and assign the legal title to the motor vehicle described on behalf of the grantor.
Limited Power of Attorney — Tax Collection
This form authorizes an accountant, attorney, or other agent to interact with the Comptroller of Public Accounts on behalf of a taxpayer in matters concerning tax collection.
Revoking Powers of Attorney
Sample Revocation of Power of Attorney
If you decide that you no longer wish to have a power of attorney, it is your right to revoke it. This page from TexasLawHelp.org contains recommendations for how to revoke a power of attorney as well as a sample form.