A durable power of attorney watches out for your best interests

If you were to fall ill and be unable to speak for yourself, who would you have make decisions for you? If you don't have an answer to that question or are wary of who might make decisions on your behalf, it's time to look into a durable power of attorney.

A durable power of attorney gives a person a right to make end-of-life and health care decisions on your behalf if you can't do so due to incapacity. For example, if you are severely injured in a car crash and decisions have to be made about surgeries or your further medical treatment, the person you appoint will take over and make those decisions for you.

Normally, the person with the durable power of attorney is a relative. It doesn't have to be a relative, though. This person obtains the right to make decisions about health care for your mental or physical health. There are a few different services that Texas law will not allow a durable power of attorney to agree to. The individual is unable to consent to psychosurgery on your behalf, for example. He or she may not consent to abortion or convulsive treatment for you, either.

Legally, a person must have a signed durable power of attorney document to show that he or she is the person with that power. This document must have at least two witnesses and include a disclosure statement to be legal. You may have more than one durable power of attorney if you so wish. You may want to do that if you are concerned about one person not being available or if you want more than one person to control your health care decisions.