Texas Power of Attorney Forms
The Texas Power of Attorney Forms are legal forms completed by a party known as the “principal,” for the purpose of delegating one (1) or more tasks to another party known as the “agent.” In order for the agent to uphold their legal responsibility to the principal, the principal agrees to allow certain decision-making powers to the agent. These powers may be related to personal affairs (the care of children), business affairs (the management of company finances), or legal duties (the filing of taxes). In Texas, it’s important that all POA forms comply with Estate Code Chapter 751, which are the laws that state the legal duties of agents, the requirements for making all POA forms effective, how to go about terminating a POA, and several other important topics.
Advance Directive / Medical (Health Care) Power of Attorney – Permits a person (referred to as the declarant) to declare an individual with the power to oversee and make decisions in regards to how they are taken care of after becoming incapacitated (not mentally or physically able to make decisions on their own).
Durable (Statutory) Power of Attorney – The official statutory form created by the state. Used for granting encompassing permissions regarding a principal’s life. Remains in effect in the case the principal is no longer able to make decisions for themselves.
General (Financial) Power of Attorney – Used for assigning an agent with decision-making power over a person’s finances. Unlike the durable version, the general POA immediately discontinues if the principal is deemed disabled or incapacitated as per the definitions set out by state law.
Limited (Special) Power of Attorney – Used for assigning one (1) to a few specific powers to an agent for a short-term task. Commonly used for giving a person permission to sign another person’s name in lieu of them being there physically.
Minor Child Power of Attorney – A form used when parents or guardians are unable to fulfill their parental or guardianship duties, typically due to their job or unforeseen circumstances. Allows for the nominating of an attorney-in-fact to take care of their child(ren) in the wake of their presence.
Motor Vehicle Power of Attorney (Form VTR-271) – Provided by the Texas DMV for granting an agent (referred to as the grantee) with the “power and authority” to perform every act necessary in order to successfully purchase, transfer, and/or assign the legal title of a motor vehicle owned by a grantor”
Download – Adobe PDF
Real Estate (Property) Power of Attorney – Gives another party (whether an individual or entity) with permission to manage a person’s property(s) in the event they no longer can themselves.
Revocation of Power of Attorney – Used for terminating an active Power of Attorney of any kind. Needs to be signed by the principal to be effective.
State Tax Filing Power of Attorney (Form 01-137) – A limited POA that satisfies the statutory requirements that must be met in order for a taxpayer to elect an agent to represent them before the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.
Download – Adobe PDF
What is a Texas Power of Attorney?
A Texas Power of Attorney is a document that establishes the necessary legal requirements for an individual to particular tasks and duties of their choosing to another person. State law does not impose heavy requirements for a non-medical POA to be enacted—the principal and Notary Public are the only parties required to sign the document. and the document does not need to be filed with a court. That being said, arranging for at least two (2) witnesses or an authorized individual, such as a Notary Public, to acknowledge their signature will best safeguard the Principal’s interests and help to ensure the process is lawfully conducted.
- Texas Power of Attorney Laws – (Title 2, Chapter 751, “Durable Powers of Attorney”) and (Title 2, Chapter 166, “Advance Directives Act”)
- State Definition of Durable Power of Attorney (§ 751.002(4)) – “means a writing or other record that complies with the requirements of Section 751.0021(a) or is described by Section 751.0021(b).”
- State Definition of an Advance Directive / Medical Power of Attorney (§ 166.002(1)) – “means: (A) a directive, as that term is defined by § 166.031; (B) an out-of-hospital DNR order, as that term is defined by § 166.081; or (C) a medical power of attorney under Subchapter D.”
- Signing Requirements
- General / Durable Power of Attorneys (§ 751.0021) – Signed by the principal (or by another person given direct permission from the principal to sign their name) as well as a Notary Public.
- Advance Directive / Medical Power of Attorney (§ 166.032) – The declarant (a.k.a the “principal”) must sign the POA in the presence of two (2) witnesses, who must also sign the document. A minimum of one (1) of the witnesses is required to meet the criteria for witnesses found in § 166.003. The declarant also has the option of having their signature acknowledged before a Notary Public in replacement of witnesses. Typically, declarants opt for having their POAs signed by witnessed AND notarized to ensure the legality of the POA.
When is it Effective?
For a POA to be effective, § 751.0021 requires that all POAs be signed by the principal, or by another adult the principal directs to sign their name, as well as notarized by a licensed Notary Public. Although not legally required, having the POA be signed in the presence of two (2) witnesses can give confidence to the parties in knowing they have sufficient proof in that the principal not only knew what he/she was signing, but agreed to all of the powers granted to the agent.
The Texas Advance Directive Act (§ 166.032) states that for a Medical POA to be valid and effective, the declarant (also known as the principal) is required to sign it in the presence of a Notary Public OR two (2) witnesses, who must also sign the document. At least one (1) of the witnesses must meet the requirements set out by § 166.003, which requires at least one (1) witness to NOT be:
- A person personally designated by the declarant to make decisions regarding their health or treatment.
- Someone related to the declarant, either by blood or marriage.
- A person that is entitled to a part of the declarant’s estate (as stated by a will or codicil that was created by the declarant)