At McCulloch & Miller, we know all too well that the best strategy in estate planning and elder law is, without a doubt, planning ahead. One of the biggest difficulties that adults in Texas face is figuring out how to overcome legal barriers that could have been avoided with proper preparation. Specifically, planning for eventual incapacity can be helpful when thinking about what is best for you and your family in the future.
What is the Definition of “Incapacity” in Texas?
Under the law in Texas, a person is incapacitated when he or she is either a minor or an adult who is unable to provide for his or her basic needs, physical health, or financial affairs. Oftentimes, to meet this definition, the individual’s treating physician must sign a notarized document that confirms the patient is incapacitated.
How Do I Plan for Incapacity?
Of course, we can never know if or when we will become incapacitated. In order to prepare and have a plan in place just in case of the worst, many of our clients elect to appoint a power of attorney. This individual is someone who can make decisions on the incapacitated person’s behalf, whether those decisions revolve around finances or medical decisions.
By appointing a specific kind of power of attorney called a “springing power of attorney”, you can essentially ensure that your power of attorney will not actually have power over your decisions unless and until you become incapacitated. The power of attorney will have no authority over your finances or medical decisions as long as you are still functioning at full capacity.
Importantly, while appointing a power of attorney, you have the choice to limit the power of attorney’s capabilities – for example, you can choose to appoint a power of attorney only for purposes of finances, for example, or only for the purposes of medical decisions.
Naming a power of attorney can be a vital legal tool that clients can use to plan ahead in case of their own incapacity. While no one wants to prepare for the worst, life is unpredictable, and talking to an estate planning attorney about your options is smart in order to make sure your rights and freedoms are well protected.
Are You Looking for an Estate Planning Attorney in Texas?
At McCulloch & Miller, our specialty is helping our clients prepare and plan for the long term. If you are a resident of Texas and you have not yet retained an estate planning attorney for your legal needs, give our firm a call to talk through your various options – we can ensure you that you won’t regret it. For a consultation with a member of our team, call us at 713-597-7176. You can also fill out our online form to reach out to us and have an attorney get back in touch with you as soon as possible.