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A durable financial power of attorney is a simple estate planning tool that can help accomplish this task.

What is a Durable Financial Power of Attorney?

A durable financial power of attorney is a document that gives another person legal authority to make financial decisions on your behalf, and at your election may take effect as soon as you sign it or only become effective upon your incapacity. The person you appoint for this task is referred to as an agent or attorney-in-fact. The document grants your agent or attorney-in-fact the ability to:

  • Pay your bills and taxes
  • Pay your medical expenses
  • Manage your real estate assets
  • Access your financial accounts
  • Collect Social Security, Medicare, or other benefits on your behalf
  • Invest your money in stocks, bonds, and mutual funds
  • Buy and sell insurance policies and annuities for you
  • Collect retirement benefits on your behalf
  • Operate your small business
  • Hire legal counsel to represent you in claims against others

Your agent or attorney-in-fact is required by law to act in your best financial interests, avoid conflicts of interest, and keep your property separate from theirs. Not all financial power of attorneys are durable, which means that if you appoint a power of attorney and later become incapacitated, the document will continue to work as expected. If you later recover and resume control of your finances, your durable power of attorney durable will continue to be valid, ensuring that your agent can resume their duties if necessary at a later time.

How Does a Durable Financial Power of Attorney Work?

Generally, a durable financial power of attorney is only valid if it is signed and sworn to before a notary public.

The durable financial power of attorney ends when you die or when one of these circumstances occurs:

  • You revoke the durable financial power of attorney. You are able to do this at any time, as long as you can show that you are mentally competent.
  • You named your spouse as your agent under your durable financial power of attorney and are later divorced. In Texas, if your spouse is named as the agent of your durable financial power of attorney and you two divorce, the document will end unless you have provisions in it that state that your spouse is to remain your agent even if you divorce.
  • The court finds that you were not mentally competent when you signed the document.
  • Your agent is unavailable to carry out their duties under the provisions of the document. In order to avoid your durable financial power of attorney from ending due to the loss of or lack of an agent, you should name at least one, and preferably multiple, alternate agents.

Who Needs a Durable Financial Power of Attorney?

In short, everyone. A durable financial power of attorney should be a part of everyone’s basic estate plan. Even if someone is currently healthy and has no reason to believe that they will become incapacitated at any time in the near future, a durable financial power of attorney acts as protection for their business and finances against the unknown.

It should be noted that if you have a medical power of attorney that provides a named agent with the ability to make medical decisions on your behalf, that document will not cover the ability to make financial decisions. Powers of attorney do not grant control of all of your decisions, only those that are specifically mentioned in the document.

Do I Need a Lawyer for a Durable Financial Power of Attorney?

A durable financial power of attorney is a simple document to obtain and enforce, provided the language of the document is specific and clear. Having a lawyer’s guidance and input on the document is essential for ensuring that it has the legal teeth to stand up to any challenges and protect your future and your loved ones from the difficulties that would be encountered if you no longer have the capacity to manage your financial affairs. We can assist you in preparing your durable financial power of attorney.

A Houston Durable Financial Power of Attorney Lawyer Here To Support You

Whenever you find yourself needing to reach out to our office, you can be sure you won’t need to wait for hours or days in order to get a response. Here at Stafford Law Firm, we pride ourselves on being easily accessible and on responding to all client inquiries as soon as possible.

The fact of the matter is, one day you will need to fall back on your estate plan. Whether it will simply be to pass on your family’s wealth after you pass, or something even more heartbreaking like needing a new guardian appointment for your children, having a thorough and customized plan in place will help make sure your family and your future are well taken care of. This plan should include a durable financial power of attorney, and you can rest easy knowing that an experienced Houston durable financial power of attorney lawyer has your best interests at heart.

Schedule your free consultation right away to discuss your estate planning needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

If someone has designated you as their agent or attorney-in-fact using a financial power of attorney then you have the power to make financial decisions on their behalf. This could include things like transferring money between accounts, managing investments, and even selling property.

The difference between a financial power of attorney and a medical one are the powers granted by the document. In a medical power of attorney, the attorney-in-fact only has the power to make medical decisions and with a financial power of attorney, they make financial decisions.

Anyone designated as an agent or attorney-in-fact through a power of attorney must always act in the best interests of the principal. This means that yes, in certain circumstances they can transfer money to themselves, but only if the transfer is in the best interests of the person they are making the decisions for.