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How a Durable Power of Attorney Works in Texas


People planning their estates in Texas use durable powers of attorney to give a trusted agent the ability to handle their financial, medical and other affairs for them. There are a number of different types of powers of attorney available in Texas, including durable powers of attorney that are specifically designed to be used when the person granting the power of attorney becomes incapacitated. While Texas durable powers of attorney operate similarly to those in other states, there are some differences to be aware of. Protect your assets and loved ones by meeting with a financial advisor who can guide you through the process of establishing a durable power of attorney tailored to your unique circumstances.

Texas Durable Power of Attorney Essentials

All states accept powers of attorney. The power of attorney is a legal document allowing someone to appoint a person they trust to manage their affairs. Beyond that, however, different jurisdictions have different rules about how powers of attorney are obtained and how they can be used.

In some states, for example, a power of attorney does not enable someone to create a trust. In Texas, a power of attorney can grant that power, as long as it is specifically granted in the document establishing the power of attorney.

Another difference is that the standard form for establishing a power of attorney that is provided as part of the Texas statute on durable powers of attorney only works for financial affairs. A separate form, available from the Texas Department of Health and Human Services can be used to establish power of attorney for medical matters.

There are a number of different types of power of attorney, including financial, medical and springing. The durable power of attorney is the most common variety and it is widely used in estate planning. A durable power of attorney is typically set up to become effective when the person granting the power of attorney becomes incapacitated, and usually ends when revoked or the grantor dies or is declared competent again.

Uses for Texas Durable Power of Attorney

A senior couple reviewing their estate plan with a financial advisor.

Texas durable powers of attorney are most frequently used when someone is planning in advance for how their financial affairs will be handled if they are incapacitated. The state-provided Texas form for durable power of attorney has a list of specific powers that may be granted by an individual power of attorney. They include transactions relating to:

  • Buying, selling or other transactions concerning real estate
  • Buying and selling stocks and bonds
  • Commodities and options transactions
  • Transactions involving accounts with banks and other financial institutions
  • Business operations
  • Insurance and annuities
  • Establishing and amending trusts
  • Naming or changing beneficiaries
  • Conducting litigation
  • Providing for personal and family maintenance
  • Appointing guardians for minor children or others in need of guardianship
  • Handling benefits from Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and similar programs
  • Overseeing retirement plans
  • Managing taxes, including filing tax returns
  • Making gifts as part of an estate plan

When preparing a power of attorney using the statutory form, the person granting the power can select the powers that will be granted from a list including the above types of transactions. Only the selected powers can be used by the person acting as agent.

The form can also be customized very specifically. For example, an agent may be empowered to appoint a guardian for one minor child but not another, to sell one piece of real estate but not another, to make gifts only up to a certain size and so on.

Bottom Line

A senior couple in Texas meeting with a financial advisor to discuss adding a power of attorney to their estate plan.

In Texas a durable power of attorney enables someone planning their estate to appoint a trusted agent to conduct their affairs in the event they become incapacitated. The durable power of attorney goes into effect when someone is declared incapacitated and can continue until the death of the person granting the power. A Texas durable power of attorney can, if specifically provided for in the documents granting the power, enable an agent to handle a broad range of transactions related to real estate, securities, bank accounts, trusts, annuities and more, including making medical decisions on behalf of the incapacitated person, naming guardians and filing taxes.

Estate Planning Tips

  • A financial advisor can help you create a estate plan for your needs and goals. Finding a financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three vetted financial advisors who serve your area, and you can have a free introductory call with your advisor matches to decide which one you feel is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • Use SmartAsset’s Texas paycheck calculator to estimate take-home pay after deductions for federal income tax, FICA taxes and state insurance taxes.

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