Powers of attorney are legal documents that enable us to plan for incapacity. The main benefit of a power of attorney is that it prevents the need for a costly and humiliating procedure known as guardianship in the event of your incapacity.
At Kennedy & Jackson, located in Houston, we provide clear advice and comprehensive representation regarding powers of attorney, guardianship and other estate planning matters. Our attorneys are board-certified in estate planning and probate law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
Why Do I Need A Power Of Attorney?
Seven out of every eight people will become incapacitated before they die. That incapacity may last for a few days on the person's deathbed, or it may last many years due to a condition such as Alzheimer's or dementia.
If you become incapacitated, the best plans you made for your family could be undone if you have not authorized someone else to step into your shoes and make decisions. This is what a general or durable power of attorney can do for you.
You may assume that a spouse or family member could act for you, but this is not the case. Without a power of attorney, your loved ones would have no alternative but to appoint a guardian for you. In Texas, they would have to hire two attorneys: one to represent the guardian and one to represent you as an incapacitated person. They would also have to hire a doctor for a humiliating legal process of proving, in a public court, that you do not know what you are doing. If your family members cannot agree on who should be your guardian, the legal process can become drawn out and very costly.
How Does A Power Of Attorney Work?
A power of attorney can be effective immediately (a durable or general power of attorney), or it can be a springing power of attorney that takes effect only if you are incapacitated.
The person you name as your agent under a power of attorney can pay bills and make other financial decisions for you. Some financial institutions may require their own version of a power of attorney. In addition to a power of attorney for financial matters, you will need a health care power of attorney to name someone who can make health care decisions for you.
For More Information About Powers of Attorney
Our law office is located in the Galleria area of Houston, with free on-site parking available next to our office building. We provide a free — and confidential — initial consultation to all new potential clients to discuss powers of attorney.
To schedule an appointment with one of our lawyers, call 713-783-7444 or send us an email.