One of the most important documents in your Estate Planning portfolio is the Durable Power of Attorney. This document allows you, as the principal, to name a person of your choice as your agent. Your agent then acts on your behalf and engages in business, financial, and legal decisions in the event of your disability.
Texas has a statutory form that is not mandatory to use, but is very streamlined and shorter than the non-statutory format. Effective September 1, 2017, Texas legislature made a number of changes to this form following new case law. However, this does not necessarily mean your existing document is no longer effective. The new form simply has more choices that draw the principal’s attention to the important powers that are given to the agent.
More importantly, the form incorporates language that may make it easier for a third party, such as a financial institution, to accept such Powers of Attorney. For example, if your spouse suffers dementia you may need to refinance your home to pay for expenses.
Financial institutions often refuse to accept Powers of Attorney simply because it involves additional risk on their part of making a mistake and be sued.
More on this on my next blog.