Changes to the Law Regarding Texas Statutory Durable Power of Attorney

In 2013, the Texas legislature passed a new law related to statutory durable power of attorney; this law went into effect January 1st of this year and has changed the form you’d use to grant someone power of attorney.  It’s important to make note of these changes for your estate planning needs, as all of your paperwork needs to be prepared properly.

What is the statutory durable power of attorney form?

With the statutory durable power of attorney form, you’re naming someone to act on your behalf in the event that you become incapacitated.  For instance, if you develop dementia or are involved in a vehicular crash that results in a prolonged coma or damage to the brain, the person you name (known as the Agent) would be able to act on your behalf for a number of financial and personal matters.

What changes have been made to the form?

The most important change is how you go about designating what powers the Agent will have.  On the power of attorney form, you can grant this individual a broader set of powers over financial and personal affairs, or make them more limited in scope.  In the past, you would have crossed out any powers listed on the form that you didn’t want to grant to the Agent.  Now, you need to place your initials near the powers you do want to grant.

It’s important that when you fill out a new form, you make sure to actively initial the powers you want to grant; if you don’t, then you might be looking at a major legal headache and future personal crisis, as the Agent you’ve designated may not get any power of attorney at all.

Other changes to the form include an additional notice for you, urging you to choose someone you trust, and also additional information for the Agent, further explaining the nature of their relationship to you once they receive powers of attorney.

It would be best for you to review the form with a trusted estate lawyer who will be able to explain powers of attorney to you in greater detail, give you advice on who to choose, and ensure that all of your paperwork is correct and reflects your estate planning wishes.  Contact us for more information on this topic and anything else related to estate law.