Powers of Attorney
People often refer to a “power of attorney” as an ancillary estate planning document. However, they are anything but ancillary when the need for them arises. If you or someone you love become incapacitated due to illness or injury, it is important to have a chain of command make medical and financial decisions.
At The Hale Law Firm, our estate planning attorneys can help you understand the different types of powers of attorney and advise in the selection of appropriate agents for healthcare and finances. As part of our estate planning, wills and trusts services, and long-term care planning, we regularly prepare powers of attorney at no additional charge. These powers of attorney include:
- Durable Power of Attorney
- Medical Power of Attorney and HIPAA Authorization and Release
- Directives to Physicians
- HIPAA Authorization and Release
Durable Power of Attorney
Texas Probate Code § 490 provides the statutory form for designating an agent to perform certain actions regarding your property and finances. This “statutory durable power of attorney” is widely used by estate planning attorneys.
Elder law attorneys typically enlarge the powers granted under a statutory durable power of attorney to allow the agent to respond to issues regularly faced with incapacity, such as authorizing gifts to qualify for Medicaid and protect against Medicaid Estate Recovery.
Medical Power of Attorney and HIPAA Authorization and Release
Texas Health and Safety Code §§ 166.163 and 166.164 provide state promulgated forms for designating an agent to make medical decisions for you in the event you are unable to make such decisions. In completing the form, it is critical that you carefully review the Required Disclosure Statement prior to having it witnessed or notarized.
Federal law requires healthcare providers to maintain their patient’s privacy. Without a duly signed HIPAA release, your medical provider may not be able to release or discuss important medical records with your medical power of attorney.
Directives to Physicians and Family or Surrogates
Texas Health and Safety Code § 166.033 sets forth a statutory form for instructing your healthcare providers regarding life-sustaining treatment in the event you are diagnosed with a terminal or irreversible condition. It is important that your desires are clearly known and understood to avoid disputes between your family members and medical team.
We invite you to call us today to arrange a free initial consultation with one of our experienced estate planning and elder law attorneys.