Texas Medical Power of Attorney Form
A Texas medical power of attorney (“designation of health care agent”) is a type of advance directive that empowers an individual (called the “declarant”) with the ability to assign an individual that will have the power to make decisions regarding the declarant’s medical treatment (health care) in the event they no longer can themselves.
Unlike other types of POAs, the form automatically gives the agent sweeping powers over the principal’s medical decisions. However, there is a section on the form that allows the principal to state powers they do not want to grant. It is VERY IMPORTANT the principal takes the time to determine which powers they feel the agent should not have, as the principal will not be able to alter or revoke the POA in the event they are incapacitated.
In order for the form to be valid, the declarant must be competent at the time of the form’s creation and execution—a state described by § 166.002.
Signing requirements (§ 166.032): State law requires that the declarant signs the POA in the presence of either:
- Two (2) witnesses, who are also required to sign the document. At least one (1) of the witnesses must be qualified for such a responsibility, as per the criteria set out in § 166.003, OR
- A Notary Public.
The agent is only permitted to make decisions under the POA after a physician makes an official written decision stating that the principal is indeed incapacitated. The physician is also required to file the decision with the principal’s medical records.
Additionally, § 166.152 specifically states situations in which the agent has no power. They are:
- Inpatient mental health services that are voluntary
- Treatment that causes convulsions
- Psychosurgery (ex: a lobotomy)
- Purposeful neglect of the principal for the purpose of giving the principal comfort
If the principal needs to revoke the power of attorney (before becoming incapacitated), they can do so for any reason at any time using a revocation form.