Table of Contents
- Download a Texas Medical Power of Attorney Sample
- The Definition: What is a Texas Medical Power of Attorney Form?
- Who Should Have a Medical Power of Attorney?
- How to Select Your Agent(s)
- Decision Making Power of Your Agent
- What to Do If You Change Your Mind
- How to Complete Your Document
1. Download a Texas Medical Power of Attorney Sample
2. The Definition: What is a Texas Medical Power of Attorney Form?
Texas defines a medical power of attorney as a legal document which grants a trusted individual the power to make health-related decisions on behalf of the person executing the medical power of attorney form.
In the event of a debilitating medical emergency, a medical power of attorney will clarify these lingering questions:
- Who will carry out my medical wishes?
- What type of treatment do I want to receive?
- Will my religious or moral beliefs be followed?
Here are a few key terms to keep in mind before creating your medical power of attorney form, as set forth by Section 166.151 of the Texas Health and Safety Code:
- Agent: an adult who is authorized by a medical power of attorney to make health care decisions for the principal.
- Principal: an adult who has executed a medical power of attorney.
- Adult: any individual over the age of 18, or an emancipated minor.
- Health care provider: an individual or licensed institution which administers health care for profit, certified, or otherwise authorized to administer health care, for profit or otherwise, in the ordinary course of business or professional practice and includes a physician.
- Residential care provider: any for-profit individual or licensed institution which operates a residential care or nursing home.
For your reference, people also refer to this document as:
- Health Care Power of Attorney
- Physicians Directive
- Advance Medical Directive
- Medical Proxy Form
For non-medical issues, please refer to our Power of Attorney form.
3. Who Should Have a Medical Power of Attorney?
Whether you’re 18 or 80, being prepared for unforeseen medical events is a necessary step towards managing your health.
Should you ever become incapacitated or unable to express your own medical opinions, a medical power of attorney ensures that you will be treated in a way that you see fit.
This document will help any individual concerned with placing an enormous burden of responsibility on their family. A medical power of attorney allows you to lay out exactly which choices you yourself would make, and removes the stress associated with tough health care decisions.
4. How to Select Your Agent(s)
Deciding who to appoint as your medical power of attorney agent is an important choice to make, and as such, you’re given an extensive amount of freedom with that decision.
You will want to appoint someone who you feel confident will have your best interest in mind, and who will adhere to your religious and moral convictions.
People often feel comfortable assigning a close relative or spouse as their agent, however, be certain that your loved ones will be capable of fulfilling your health care directives in the midst of a tragedy.
While you are allowed to pick from a broad range of individuals in the agent selection process, the Texas legislature does stipulate who may not act as your agent.
Who IS NOT allowed to make decisions on your behalf?
- Any individual or representative of the principal’s health care provider including their physician.
- An employee of the principal’s health care provider or residential care provider, unless they are a relative.
Who IS allowed to make decisions on your behalf?
Aside from the specific individuals referred to above, essentially any other adult over the age of 18.
Furthermore, any person under 18 years of age who has been emancipated or otherwise considered an adult in the eyes of the Texas legislature.
Can You Have More Than One Agent?
Certainly. Texas does not require that you do so, but you are given the option to designate multiple alternate agents in your medical power of attorney form.
If you do decide to have alternate agents, those individuals will only able to make medical decisions should your primary agent be unable or unwilling to act on your behalf.
5. Decision Making Power of Your Agent
Your agent may decide on a wide variety of health-related options once that person has been appointed in your medical power of attorney document.
What health care decisions can your agents make?
After a physician has declared you medically incompetent, your agent is authorized to decide on:
- The types of medication to be administered
- Medically-relevant surgeries or procedures
- The termination of life-sustaining treatment
What health care decisions can your agents not make?
You are able to limit the decisions that your agent is able to make on your behalf.
You must document those limitations in writing within your medical power of attorney.
Otherwise, your agent may make the same medical decisions as if you yourself were making them.
However, your agent is not permitted to make the following medical choices on your behalf (even if they are explicitly documented in your medical power of attorney form):
- Voluntary inpatient mental health services
- Convulsive treatment
- Neglect of the principal through the omission of comfort-providing care
When is your agent able to begin making decisions on your behalf?
The decision-making authority of your designated agent will only go into effect once a licensed physician has deemed that you are unable to comprehend or make judgements regarding your own health.
6. What to Do if You Change Your Mind
How long is your medical power of attorney effective?
Your medical power of attorney is effective indefinitely upon execution and delivery to your agent or agents.
The authority of your agent will remain in effect until you revoke your medical power of attorney, or if you become competent—at which point you will regain the power to make your own health care decisions.
How to revoke
If you happen to have second thoughts on granting someone else that much authority over your health, there are options.
You can easily revoke or cancel your medical power of attorney with a simple revocation of medical power of attorney document.
Additional ways in which your current medical power of attorney will become void:
- Signing a new medical power of attorney and appointing new agents
- Divorce, or annulment, if your spouse is your agent
- Expressing your intent to revoke with your health care professional
7. How to Complete Your Document
Before your medical power of attorney will go into effect, all agents must be made aware of their new designations, and have a copy of the document delivered to them.
Ensure that your medical power of attorney will follow you wherever you go by submitting a copy to your primary health or residential care providers since they will file it with your medical records.
Do you need witnesses?
Yes, a Texas medical power of attorney must be signed in the presence of 2 witnesses, one of which must qualify under the rules of Tex. HSC §166.003(2).
Do you need a public notary?
In lieu of any witnesses, the principal may sign the MPOA and have the signature acknowledged by a notary public.
In lieu of both options, a digital or electronic signature (as defined by Tex. HSC §166.011) may be used by another person on the principal’s behalf in their presence and with their express direction.
What do you do with your signed document?
You’ll want to retain the original copy for your personal records, and submit one to all of the following:
- The agent
- All alternate agents
- Your primary care physician and/or residential care provider
A medical power of attorney is a crucial legal document which safeguards your health care intentions, religious or moral beliefs, and end-of-life wishes.
It provides peace of mind, and will prepare you and your family in the face of an unfortunate situation.