The Texas legislature made a number of changes to the law concerning probate, trusts, and guardianship. Many changes went into effect on September 1, 2017 including changes to Durable Powers of Attorney.
Changes to the Durable Powers of Attorney include:
· A power of attorney is now required to be accepted by third parties (Estate Code Section 751.201)
· The format of the statutory durable power of attorney has changed – meaning attorneys should use the new language that went into effect September 1, 2017 (Estate Code Section 752.051)
· Now the agent is entitled to compensation and reimbursement unless expressly provided otherwise (Estate Code Section 751.024)
· There is now a duty required of agents to preserve the principal’s estate plan (Estate Code Section 751.122)
· The law now defines when an agent is held to a fiduciary duty (Estate Code Section 751.022)
· New powers of attorney no longer revoke prior powers by default (Estate Code Section 751.135)
With recent changes in the law, now is a good time to review your estate plan to ensure your wishes are being met in light of law (and perhaps life changes) that have occurred since you last addressed these goals. If you don’t have a plan in place, or if you need to review and update, take steps today to leave the legacy you intend for tomorrow.
Justin T. Crain is an estate planning attorney in the Plano, Texas office of Thomas Walters Estate Planning where he provides legal services including Wills, Trusts, Gun Trusts, Guardianship Administration, Probate, Estate Administration, Medicaid Planning and Nursing Home Planning to those in the surrounding areas of North Texas.