Last time we took a look at the new changes to the generic Texas power of attorney for 2014. Now that we know what the changes are, we are going to look at a couple of the potential problems these changes make and how you can avoid these problems.

The first opportunity for problems with the generic Texas power of attorney is that you have to initial the specific powers you want to give your agent. If you don’t want to give them a specific power you are supposed to leave it blank and not initial it. As you might have guessed, the problem with this system is it is a lot easier for an unscrupulous agent to write in your initials at a later time which would give them a power you might never have wanted to give them. This can lead to some big problems and obviously not result in achieving your goals.

The second problem is that the new generic power of attorney does not contain language making it a general power of attorney. As long as it is your intent, a general Texas power of attorney can be very important in helping your agent accomplish tasks which could not have been foreseen far enough in advance to make a specific provision for. It gives your agent a lot more flexibility than a limited power of attorney. It may seem silly but I’ve had banks refuse to open up accounts using a power of attorney because the generic power of attorney did not include a specific authorization to open up a bank account.

The third problem arises if no powers are initialed. I have seen plenty of documents signed without the supervision of an attorney that ended up having a problem similar to the situation where somebody intends to grant or withhold a power but does not take the proper steps to actually do it. When a mistake is made and the person forgets to initial any of the powers the first impression would be the agent has no authority to do anything unless something is added to the “special instructions” section. That is probably not your goal since you took the time to sign the document.

Now that we know some of the biggest potential problems we can begin to look at some solutions to dealing with these problems.

  1. Cross out any powers you do not want your agent to have so there is at least some evidence in the document that you did not want to give them a power, or even better, work with your attorney beforehand so any powers you are not intending to grant are not even listed on the document.
  2. Add in the appropriate language to make it a general power of attorney if that is what your goal is.
  3. Make sure the document is prepared and executed to reflect your intent. This is what a Texas Living Trust Lawyer can help you with.

A Power of Attorney is a very important document. When prepared, executed, and used correctly it can give your trusted family members the flexibility and legal authority to adjust to changed financial circumstances as they arise in the future and possibly protect your life savings from skyrocketing nursing home costs. When it is not prepared, executed, or used correctly it may end up not being worth the paper it is written on.

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