Why might you create and grant a power of attorney?
Let’s consider some common scenarios: military personnel may grant power of attorney in anticipation of an overseas tour of duty. Likewise, those taking extended vacations will need someone to look after their interests in their absence. Health reasons, either in anticipation of extended physical rehabilitation or as a preventative measure in the event of diminished cognitive abilities, are very common to granting power of attorney.
The individual chosen to act as your agent need not be an attorney, nor does power of attorney allow them to practice law unless they are already a member of the bar in good standing. The agent must be able to legally enter into contracts on your behalf and therefore must be a competent adult. Your agent should be an individual or in some situations, an institution that you trust completely as they will have the power to handle your finances and enter into contracts on your behalf.
In Texas, paperwork granting power of attorney must be notarized to be legally binding. Most carefully prepared forms will choose an alternate agent in the event the original agent quits, dies or becomes unable to perform their assigned duties. Separate powers of attorney may be granted for health care considerations and should be noted in the agreements. You may also limit a power of attorney to specific actions or time frames.
You should include a clause allowing you to revoke power of attorney for any reason as long as you are competent to do so. A durable power of attorney allows the agent to continue to act as you once you become incapacitated. The agreement must be carefully worded for it to come into effect upon your disability, with consideration to what will be considered a disability.
Contact the Slaton Schauer Law Firm, PLLC at (512) 258-9455 to schedule a consultation with an estate planning attorney. Or, if you aren’t ready to take that step, please feel free to browse our articles on scams which target the elderly or common traps in estate planning.