Financial Power of Attorney in Dallas-Fort Worth
Sound Counsel to Help Texans Create Durable POAs
At Crain & Wooley, we understand how challenging it can be to consider a future without you. While no one enjoys thinking about death, preparing for the unexpected is generally an essential pillar stone to lead a happy and fulfilling life. When it comes to estate planning, legal preparation is key.
That’s why our compassionate lawyers are here to help Texans in Dallas-Fort Worth prepare for the worst and hope for the best while living their lives to the fullest. Our services include flat-rate pricing and knowledgeable service to help probate and estate planning processes go as smoothly as possible for you and your loved ones in DFW.
Estate planning is a complex area of the law. Call (972) 945-1610 to schedule a consultation with a skilled DFW estate planning lawyer.
Types of POAs in Texas
When it comes to Texas estate planning, a Power of Attorney (“POA”) is a crucial document granting someone else the authority to act on your behalf in various circumstances. A durable Power of Attorney (“POA”) is a legal document that appoints a chosen representative to make certain legal, financial, or medical decisions for you. There are various types of POAs, including:
- Financial POA – Also known as a “General Power of Attorney,” this document allows you to appoint an agent to manage your financial affairs. This may include tasks like paying bills, managing real estate, and conducting transactions.
- Medical POA – This document lets you designate an individual to make healthcare decisions for you in the event that you become become incapacitated and cannot make those decisions yourself.
What Is a Financial Power of Attorney?
In Texas, a financial POA can protect your financial interests if you’re unable to manage them yourself. A POA is a legally binding document that gives someone else (“agent”) the authority to handle matters like banking, real estate transactions, investment decisions, tax filings, and more on your behalf.
How to Create a Durable POA in Texas
To be considered a “durable” Financial Power of Attorney, the POA must remain in effect even if the creator (“principal”) becomes mentally incapacitated. In Texas, a POA is durable unless it expressly states otherwise.
Legal requirements for establishing a durable financial POA include the following:
- Being of sound mind – The state of Texas requires individuals creating a POA to be of sound mind, meaning they meet the required mental capacity to make this important legal decision.
- Inclusion of statutory language – State law requires certain language (such as warnings, disclaimers, and notices) to be included in the POA document to be considered legally valid.
- Official notarization – The POA document must be signed before a notary public to be considered legally valid in Texas.
Put simply, the principal of a financial POA in Texas must fulfill these four elements:
- Be an adult who is capable of understanding the nature and effect of the POA;
- Choose an agent who is at least 18 years old;
- Clearly specify the powers granted to the agent in the POA document; and
- Sign and date the document before a notary public.
Who Can Serve as an Agent or Attorney-in-Fact?
In a financial POA, the “agent” is appointed by the principal (the person creating the POA) to handle their financial affairs and make financial decisions on their behalf. Also known as the attorney-in-fact or fiduciary, the agent's role in financial POAs is critical, as the document grants that person the authority to act on behalf of the principal in various financial matters.
In Texas, the rules regarding who can be appointed as an agent in a financial POA are relatively flexible. However, there are still important considerations to keep in mind when selecting an agent, including:
- Capacity – The agent must have the legal capacity to act as an agent. This means they must be at least 18 years old and of sound mind at the time of their appointment.
- Trustworthiness – The principal should choose an agent they trust implicitly to act in their best interests and handle their financial affairs responsibly. Since the agent will have significant powers, selecting someone with integrity who is well-versed in financial matters is a must.
- Family or trusted individuals – It is common for people to appoint family members, close friends, or other individuals they trust as their agents in a financial POA. These individuals are often familiar with the principal's financial situation and personal preferences.
- Professional agents – In some cases, the principal may choose to appoint a professional agent, such as a lawyer, accountant, or financial advisor, to handle their financial matters. Professional agents may have specialized knowledge and experience, which can be beneficial in complex financial situations.
- Avoiding conflicts of interest – When selecting an agent, it's essential to consider potential conflicts of interest. For example, an agent who stands to benefit financially from the principal's assets should be chosen carefully to avoid any potential conflicts of interest.
- Successor agents – The principal can appoint one or more successor agents in case the primary agent is unable or unwilling to act when needed. Successor agents can step up to fill the role if the primary agent is unavailable or resigns.
It’s essential for the principal to communicate clearly with their chosen agent about their expectations, the scope of authority granted, and any specific instructions or limitations they want to impose on the agent’s powers. A skilled estate planning attorney can help ensure that the financial POA document is drafted to reflect the principal's wishes.
5 Steps to Create a Financial POA in Texas
There are specific legal steps that Texans must take to establish a durable POA, including:
- Select an agent – Choose someone trustworthy who understands your financial goals.
- Define the scope – Determine what financial powers you want to grant your agent.
- Draft the POA document – Use precise language to clearly outline the powers given to your agent.
- Sign and notarize the POA – Sign the document in front of a notary public to make it legally binding.
- Inform relevant parties – Notify your financial institutions and anyone else who may need to know about the POA.
- Store the POA safely – Keep the original document in a safe place and provide copies to your agent and backup agent.
When to Hire a Texas Estate Planning Attorney
While it's possible to create a Financial Power of Attorney by yourself in Texas, it’s best to consult with a legal professional to ensure all legal requirements are met and that your interests are adequately protected.
When it comes to drafting and establishing a valid and durable financial POA, sound counsel from a Texas estate planning lawyer can be an invaluable resource throughout the legal process. A qualified lawyer can assist with:
- Expertise: Attorneys understand the legal requirements involved in drafting a valid POA to help ensure the document is valid and enforceable.
- Personalization: An attorney can customize your POA to suit your unique needs and circumstances.
- Peace of Mind: You'll have the assurance that your financial affairs will be handled according to your wishes.
- Updates and Revisions: Laws change over time. An attorney can help keep your POA up-to-date.
- Dispute Prevention: A properly drafted POA can prevent potential disputes among family members.
Contact a Trusted POA Lawyer in Dallas-Fort-Worth
Our accomplished advocates at Crain & Wooley have extensive experience in a wide range of probate and estate planning matters. From retirement planning to business development, you can count on our firm to deliver the sound counsel you and your loved ones deserve. Planning for an uncertain future can be difficult, but you don’t have to do it alone. Reach out to our compassionate estate planning attorneys in DFW to learn more about our virtual and in-person services to protect your assets and manage your hard-earned Texas estate.
Are your loved ones in good hands? Our DFW lawyers can help safeguard your estate and loved ones for many years to come. Call (972) 945-1610 to schedule a consultation.
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We had been wanting to do and understand a trust for a long time. Once we received the meeting invite, the rest was easy. We learned about wills and trusts in an understandable way. Justin and his team are organized, thorough, friendly and helpful. They coordinated and explained each step of the process. We are so grateful we did this. The cost was invaluable. Thank you for everything.- Shelly Torti
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We attended a lunch seminar hosted by Shelly Joyner and her team to listen and learn more about our options with Trusts. Based on Shelly's presentation, examples, and knowledge of Trusts, we were sold on Crain & Wooley as the firm to prepare and manage our Trust.
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Would highly recommend the services of Crain & Wooley!!- Paul & Helen Cherry
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Finding a law firm to assist me in creating a "Living Trust" was very confusing. After interviewing three law firms, I chose Crain & Wooley.
They got back to me quickly after the initial consultation and made the entire process a seamless operation.
I highly recommend and will work with Shelly Joyner and Crain & Wiiley again in the future.- Ricky Ellis
"I would return for other legal issues and would highly recommend this firm for legal advice."I am very pleased with the professional services of Crain and Wooley law firm with the trust documents formalized on my behalf. The fees were fair and the result was done in a few weeks. Terms and legal explanations were understood. I would return for other legal issues and would highly recommend this firm for legal advice.- Alex Montanez
"I had a fantastic experience with your law firm and now I can relax!"I had a fantastic experience with your law firm and now I can relax because I have my affairs in order! It was a very easy process, very informative, easy to gather their information and get the awesome result of having all my documents into my trust. Very impressed with the professionalism of Shelly Joiner, Jessica and Steve. I highly recommend this law firm Crain & Wooley for all the estate planning needs. Thank you!- Wanda Echevarria
"Very Thorough In Explaining My Options"Shelly was very thorough in explaining my options in estate planning and reviewing the documents I did have. I appreciate the speed and ease in completing my documents and support in transitioning my home into our living trust.- David Smith
"We Felt Valued, Cared for and Appreciated"It was a pleasure working with Justin Crain, Shelly Joyner, Steve Crosby, and the entire staff at Crain and Wooley. From the moment we walked into their office, we felt valued, cared for and appreciated. Justin took the time to explain to us the benefits of creating a trust and patiently answered all of our questions. My wife and I particularly appreciated their educational emphasis. They provided us with videos and literature that deepened our understanding of the process and purpose of creating a trust. We never felt any pressure during our meetings with them to purchase any legal products or services. They educated us, encouraged us to ask questions, and let us make our own decision. We did decide to create a living trust, and we are very pleased with the results.- William Benninghoff
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