The Fort Bend County probate attorney at Keith Morris & Stacy Kelly, Attorneys at Law note that starting January 1st, changes took effect for Texas’ Statutory Durable Power of Attorney form.
A statutory durable power of attorney grants an agent the ability to make financial decisions on someone else’s behalf if they are incapacitated. There are three changes in the new durable power of attorney forms that our probate attorneys want to share:
Not an opt-out form
The old form was what’s known as an opt-out form. The Principal, or person signing the form, would strike through the specific sections outlining powers that he or she didn’t want to grant to the Agent. The new form will require the Principal to initial next to each of the powers that he or she would like given. The form must be initialed by every specific power that is granted to the Agent. If none are initialed, the form will grant NO powers.
Note to Principal
The new power of attorney form also includes a note to the Principal cautioning to choose an agent who is trustworthy, something probate attorneys in Fort Bend County also strongly recommend.
The form specifically states that the power of attorney is durable in nature, meaning the Agent who is named will continue to have the power of attorney until the Principal dies or revokes the powers, the Agent resigns his powers, or guardianship over the Principal is setup.
Note to Agent
The final notable change is the end section, “Important Information for Agent.” In this section, there is a note to the Agent warning that a fiduciary relationship is established when the Agent agrees to accept the authority granted in the form.
Accepting this relationship means accepting personal responsibility and liability for decisions made on behalf of the Principal and agreeing to act in good faith and not to overreach the authority granted to you.
A Fort Bend County probate attorney can help you navigate the new power of attorney form during the estate planning process. Contact us today to learn more.