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How do I get emergency power of attorney over my husband who has been acting irrational and lately suicidal?

Houston, TX |

My husband has a medical condition that causes him to be irrational and recently suicidal. He recently disappeared and when the police found him, he openly admitted to the police that he was going to commit suicide. Currently, he's in a mental ward but because also in this condition, he knows how to manipulate the doctors to get what he wants, the psychiatrist thinks he fine and wants to release him. We don't have a lot of money and Harris County won't transport him to the city. I'm at wits end. He needs surgery but won't agree to it. I need help.

Attorney Answers 4


  1. Only your husband can give you power of attorney. If he is incompetent, he cannot even do that. You wold have to be appointed his guardian in order to make legally binding decisions for your husband (over his objections). That is going to be difficult if his psychiatrist does not think he needs it.

    Still, talk to a local attorney that handles guardianship cases. They can advise you on how you can proceed.

    Good luck!


  2. It is tough when your husband is able to get the doctors fooled about his mental status. You should contact an attorney and file for guardianship. You may want to emphasize that your husband's condition goes up and down. But guardianship doesn't fix everything. Especially not if the doctors are willing to release him, because no legal order is going to prevent him from doing what he wants when released.


  3. I see this problem all the time in my practice. The mental health code in Texas does not help families such as yours enough! You can not get a power of attorney over your husband unless he gives it too you. Even then the power of attorney does not give you the right to trump his decisions unless he is unconscious. A guardianship is the only way you can force him to get care. The problem is that most courts will restore his rights once he is stablized on medication. It is a vicious circle. I would suggest you contact the Probate Court in your county to see if you can make a Suggestion of Need for him. This is a form you fill out so that the Court takes actions to investigate whether he needs a guardian or not. The county pays the cost if your husband has limited funds. Good luck!


  4. I agree with Patricia. I see these cases frequently and it is a really difficult situation. Contested guardianships can be very expensive, so you may want to do a suggestion of need if you think he absolutely needs a guardian but can't burden the cost of a potentially contested proceeding.

    If he is currently competent, you might want to start with Statutory Durable POA, Medical POA and a Declaration for Mental Health Treatment...if he will sign them. As noted by others, he has to have capacity to sign these, be willing to sign them and they are all revocable.

    Good Luck! I really hope you are able to find a solution that adequately protects him.

    Jessica Newill
    Newill Law Firm

    This answer contains general information. None of the information contained in this communication is intended as legal advice. You should neither act nor refrain from acting based on information obtained from the exchange of messages on this website. None of the information contained in this answer is privileged or confidential. You should retain an attorney to provide legal advice regarding this issue. Newill Law Firm provides estate planning and probate services. Call (210) 383-0546 for a FREE initial consultation.

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