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Medical Powers of Attorney and Directives

Can a Minor Child Witness a Medical Power of Attorney?

by Rania Combs

“My mom has a power of attorney that was witnessed by someone under 18,” she said. “Is it valid?”

The Texas statutes specify that a medical power of attorney must be signed by the principal in the presence of two witnesses who qualify under Section 166.003, who must also sign the document.

Section 166.003 provides that each witness much be a competent adult, and at least one of the witnesses must be a person who is not:

  1. a person designated by the declarant to make a health care or treatment decision;
  2. a person related to the declarant by blood or marriage;
  3. a person entitled to any part of the declarant’s estate after the declarant’s death under a will or codicil executed by the declarant or by operation of law;
  4. the attending physician;
  5. an employee of the attending physician;
  6. an employee of a health care facility in which the declarant is a patient if the employee is providing direct patient care to the declarant 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
  7. a person who, at the time the written advance directive is executed or, if the directive is a nonwritten directive issued under this chapter, at the time the nonwritten directive is issued, has a claim against any part of the declarant’s estate after the declarant’s death.

In lieu of signing in the presence of witnesses, the person signing the medical power of attorney can have the document notarized.

If the document is not notarized and the witnesses don’t qualify under Section 166.003, the medical power of attorney is not valid.


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