Power of attorney mistakes to avoid

Texas residents often choose to include powers of attorney in their estate plans. If a person becomes incapacitated by illness or injury, a properly executed power of attorney ensures that important financial or medical decisions will be made by a responsible and trusted individual. While powers of attorney can be versatile and useful estate planning tools, they should be drafted with care. There are also some pitfalls that should be avoided when creating one.

Boilerplate documents

Several websites offer power of attorney forms that can be downloaded for free or a modest sum. Using boilerplate forms may reduce or eliminate legal costs, but the resulting power of attorney will be vague and not address the creator’s specific circumstances. Creating a power of attorney from scratch may cost a little more, but the document will satisfy the requirements of state law and be tailored to meet the creator’s needs.

Choosing the wrong power of attorney

A general power of attorney may sound like a prudent option, but one of these documents would be a terrible choice for an individual who wants to make sure that a responsible person makes decisions on their behalf if they are unable to. That is because the authority to make decisions provided by a general power of attorney ends if the creator passes away or becomes incapacitated. To avoid powers of attorney issues, a springing durable power of attorney that becomes effective upon incapacity should be drafted.

Peace of mind

Estate planning documents like powers of attorney and health care directives can provide peace of mind, but only if they are properly drafted and meet legal requirements. Drafting the wrong type of power of attorney or using forms that can be downloaded from websites could result in a document that does not provide peace of mind.