One common question we receive from clients and potential clients revolves around power of attorney – does it expire? If so, when? Understanding power of attorney is crucial, especially if you have a loved one that might need help making decisions for themselves. At McCulloch & Miller, we understand that these are delicate topics, and we are here to help you and the people you care about navigate processes like this one with the utmost care.
What is Power of Attorney?
If one person has power of attorney over an individual, it means he or she can make decisions on behalf of the individual. The power of attorney can have broad powers or limited ones, depending on the circumstances and the nature of the relationship. A power of attorney might make financial decisions, medical decisions, or decisions surrounding a person’s property and estate. Importantly, the individual in any power of attorney relationship has the right to know what their power of attorney is doing and to see any paperwork the power of attorney might be using to make decisions.
How Do You Know When a Power of Attorney Expires?
Different states have different rules about how and when power of attorney might expire. In Texas, the answer to this question depends on what kind of power of attorney relationship exists. For example, a “limited power of attorney” exists only for the purpose of handling a specific issue. Once this matter is finished, the power of attorney expires. Similarly, a “medical power of attorney” gives authority only if the individual is unable to make her or his own medical decisions.
In contrast to the limited power of attorney, “general power of attorney” lasts either for as long as the parties have stipulated, when the individual dies, when the individual becomes incapacitated, or when the individual revokes the power. A general power of attorney has broad power to act on the individual’s behalf, and this type of relationship can be more ambiguous in its start and end dates.
Two additional kinds of power of attorney are the “durable power of attorney” and the “springing power of attorney.” The former lasts until the individual is incapacitated, while the latter only begins when the individual becomes incapacitated in the first place.
In figuring out the scope of the relationship, it is crucial to know what kind of power of attorney is at play. For many, this can be a difficult area of the law, since so much is on the line depending on the power of attorney’s scope and role.
Are You Looking for Legal Help with Your Loved Ones in Texas?
At McCulloch & Miller, PLLC, we understand that no one wants to find themselves in the position of needing to think about retaining a power of attorney. These issues are complicated, and difficult conversations and emotions might be at play. If you or a loved one needs legal advice in this area, don’t hesitate to reach out today. We are experts in Houston estate planning and elder law matters, and we would be honored to offer you our services. We can be reached by phone at 713-597-7176.