When You Need a Durable Power of Attorney in Texas

We previously outlined some reasons you might need a power of attorney. For now, we’re going to specifically focus on the importance of a durable power of attorney as it pertains to property. You need to know about recent statutory changes to the law that were recently enacted by the Texas legislature.

Why would you need a durable power of attorney for a property? One primary consideration is that you might become incapacitated. In that case, you would want a trusted representative to take over in your stead. The individual or organization you give this authority to is legally referred to as your agent. In turn, you are considered the principal as the person entrusting someone else to make decisions for you.

Keep in mind that there are other circumstances where you may decide to execute a durable power of attorney. In some cases, individuals allow someone else to act as their agent as a matter of convenience. In those instances, a power of attorney will contain language indicating that incompetency is not a prerequisite to the agent acting on your behalf.

Durable Power of Attorney: Changes to the Law

In early September 2017, the Texas Estate Code was updated to include the language passed in this legislative act. Some of the changes include the following:

  • Acceptance of power of attorney by third party: New shifts in the law are specific when it comes to acceptance of the power of attorney when presented to third parties. When the agent offers the duly executed to a third party, the following are considerations:
    • Third party may accept the power of attorney
    • Third party may require that the agent sign a certification concerning the principal, agent, or power of attorney
    • Third party may request a translation of the power of attorney if it is not written in English
    • Third party may require an opinion of counsel
    • Denial of power of attorney: The grounds for denying to accept a power of attorney are extensive. An experienced estate planning attorney will work with you to ensure you understand the circumstances that might make a power of attorney unacceptable to a third party. This is necessary information whether you are the principal or the agent accepting the appointment.
    • Successor agents: The principal may name successor representatives on his or her own behalf. Likewise, the principal may grant the agent authority to name successor agents.
    • Gifts of the principal’s property: The agent is permitted to make gifts of the principal’s property, provided that they are consistent with the principal’s estate plan.

    There are many more provisions to the new power of attorney laws that are crucial to your peace of mind. Changes in tailored power of attorney documents are made in accordance with these new requirements.

    Contact Us

    Whether you already have a power of attorney or need one, the Manfred Sternberg and Associates can assist you. Contact our offices to learn how the new statutory changes may affect you.

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