A comprehensive estate plan will contain provisions for your finances in the event you become incapacitated or are unable to manage your finances independently. A Texas durable power of attorney is an important estate planning document, but do you need one? A knowledgeable estate planning lawyer at The Law Office of Jason Carr can discuss your particular needs and advise you whether you would benefit from including a durable power of attorney document within your comprehensive estate plan. Our experienced Texas estate planning attorneys welcome the opportunity to visit with you about your estate plan. Contact our legal team to schedule your appointment today at (214) 800-2366.
What Is a Durable Power of Attorney in Texas?
A power of attorney is a legal document in which the person making it (the principal) appoints another person (the agent) to handle their finances. When you sign a power of attorney document, you give your agent the legal right to act on your behalf in all matters identified in the document. The term “durable” indicates that the powers and responsibilities identified in the document continue even if the principal becomes incapacitated.
What Does a Durable Power of Attorney in Texas Do?
Under Texas law, a durable power of attorney allows the agent to handle any matters identified in the power of attorney document, which may include:
- Transactions concerning real property
- Transactions concerning personal property
- Transactions concerning stocks and bonds
- Transactions concerning commodities and options
- Transactions regarding the principal’s retirement accounts
- Transactions concerning financial institutions
- Transactions regarding insurance and annuities
- Transactions concerning the operation of a business
- Transactions regarding estate, trusts, and beneficiaries
- Personal and family maintenance
- Civil or public benefits
- Digital assets
- Legal claims and litigation
- Any other financial matters identified in the document
The principal can make the document as broad or limited as the principal desires.
Types of Durable Power of Attorneys in Texas
Texas Law Help identifies several powers of attorney that are recognized in Texas including:
General Power of Attorney
A general power of attorney grants the agent powers to act in a broad range of matters on behalf of the principal.
Limited Power of Attorney
A limited power of attorney grants the agent limited powers, which are specified in the power of attorney document. For example, the power of attorney may be limited to one specific transaction, such as selling a house. Alternatively, it might last only for a limited period of time, such as while the principal is out of the country.
Durable Power of Attorney
A durable power of attorney remains in effect if the principal becomes incapacitated. Texas law defines incapacitation or disability for these purposes as when the principal’s doctor determines the principal is unable to manage their own finances. The physician must certify this opinion in writing.
Springing Power of Attorney
A springing power of attorney only becomes effective if the principal becomes incapacitated. It does not create any immediate powers.
Medical Power of Attorney
A medical power of attorney grants the agent the right to make medical decisions on behalf of the principal in the event the principal becomes unable to make their own decisions.
Legal Requirements for a Durable Power of Attorney in Texas
To execute a legal durable power of attorney document in Texas, the principal must fulfill the following requirements:
- The power of attorney must be in writing
- The power of attorney indicates the designated agent
- The power of attorney indicates which powers the document is granting the agent
- The power of attorney contains a statement indicating that the powers designated in the document will continue if the principal later becomes incapacitated or disabled
- The principal signs the power of attorney or directs another person to sign on their behalf in front of a notary public
When Does a Power of Attorney Become Effective?
A power of attorney becomes effective on the date indicated in the power of attorney document, which may be:
- The date it was signed
- A date identified in the future
- The occurrence of some future event that is stated in the power of attorney, such as if the principal is out of the country
- When the principal becomes incapacitated, in the case of a springing power of attorney
When Does a Power of Attorney End?
The power of attorney will remain in effect until the principal dies, unless the power of attorney document indicates otherwise or an event that ends it occurs, such as:
- The principal revokes it
- The principal becomes incapacitated and there is no durability provision
- The conditions specified in the power of attorney have been fulfilled
- A guardian is appointed over the principal
- A court of competent jurisdiction ends the power of attorney
Why Would I Need a Lawyer to Create a Durable Power of Attorney in Texas?
A power of attorney is a powerful estate planning document. It can provide significant benefits, including the following:
- A power of attorney can help create continuity with your finances so that you and your loved ones are cared for even if you become incapacitated.
- You may be able to avoid the expensive and intrusive process of having a guardian appointed over you.
- You can have peace of mind of knowing that your finances are taken care of even if you are not physically present to tend to them.
Despite these advantages, a durable power of attorney comes with certain risks, such as:
- Your agent may have broad powers to take action that could adversely affect your property rights, such as selling your house, canceling your insurance, or diverting your public benefits.
- Financial institutions and other third parties can rely on the document and do not have to investigate further whether your agent has the authority to act on your behalf.
- There is no one who oversees the actions of the agent.
An experienced estate planning lawyer from The Law Office of Jason Carr can meet with you to discuss your needs and ensure your legal and financial rights are protected. Our compassionate Texas estate planning attorneys can evaluate your individual circumstances and advise whether you should include a durable power of attorney in your estate plan.
Contact a Dedicated Estate Planning Lawyer To Ensure Your Legacy Is Protected
If you would like to know if a durable power of attorney in Texas should be part of your estate plan, consider contacting an experienced Texas estate planning lawyer from The Law Office of Jason Carr. Our dedicated legal team can explain this important estate planning document, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of creating one. Reach us today by calling (214) 800-2366.