Finalizing a Health Care Directive in Texas

In Texas, you must have your living will and medical power of attorney signed by witnesses or notarized, depending on the powers you grant.

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In Texas, your health care directive will include one or two documents, depending on your wishes. If you want to leave a “living will” that describes the kind of health care you’d like if you become incapacitated, you’ll make a   Directive to Physicians and Family or Surrogates.  If you’d like to name a trusted person (called a “health care agent”) to make health care decisions on your behalf when you cannot speak for yourself, you’ll make a Medical Power of Attorney.

After you create your document, you must finalize your document.  Each document has different finalization requirements.

Directive to Physicians and Family or Surrogates

In Texas, your living will must be signed by two witnesses. Your witnesses must be at least 18 years old. In addition, at least one of your witnesses may not be:

  • your health care agent
  • related to you by blood or marriage
  • your attending physician
  • an employee of your attending physician
  • an employee of a health care facility in which you are a patient if the employee is providing direct care to you or is an officer, director, partner or business office employee of the health care facility or of any parent organization of the health care facility, or
  • a person who is entitled to or has a claim against any part of your estate after your death.

Medical Power of Attorney

If you grant your agent power to direct your burial or cremation, your document must be signed by two witnesses and notarized. Your witnesses must be at least 18 years old. In addition, at least one of your witnesses may not be:

  • your health care agent
  • related to you by blood or marriage
  • your attending physician
  • an employee of your attending physician
  • an employee of a health care facility in which you are a patient if the employee is providing direct care to you or is an officer, director, partner or business office employee of the health care facility or of any parent organization of the health care facility, or
  • a person who is entitled to or has a claim against any part of your estate after your death.

If you do not grant your agent power to direct your burial or cremation, you may choose to have your document signed by two witnesses (subject to the requirements, above) or notarized.

After You Finalize

After you finalize your documents, they are legally valid. Keep the originals in your files and give copies to your health care agent, if you named one. To ensure that you get the health care that you want, it’s a good idea to make your wishes widely known. So, you might also consider giving copies of your documents to your physician, your hospital, your HMO or other insurance plan, and trusted family members and friends.

Review your documents every few years to make sure that they still reflect your wishes. Also, consider making new documents if you move to another state, get married or divorced, or if your health care agent is no longer able to supervise your wishes.

Your properly finalized documents will stay in effect until you revoke them, if you ever choose to do so. You can revoke your documents at any time. The best way to revoke is to do it in writing. If possible, also collect and tear up all copies that you may have distributed to others. Finally, tell everyone who knows about your health care documents that you have revoked them.

Learn More

Learn more about Living Wills and Medical Powers of Attorney.

Learn more about Texas Living Wills and Medical Powers of Attorney.

When you make a health care directive with Quicken WillMaker Plus, it conforms to all of Texas’s laws about living wills and medical powers of attorney. It also prints with plain English instructions that detail how to make your documents legal. 

by: , Attorney

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