Duties and Deadlines – Texas Power of Attorney Packs a Punch

Seventeen.

That is how many business days a person can delay accepting a valid durable power of attorney.

Eleven.

That is how many different reasons a person can use when refusing to accept a durable power of attorney.

Seventy-four.

That is how many sections there are in the new law governing durable powers of attorney.

Now that’s out of the way, let’s focus on some of the details of the new Texas law that, for the first time, imposes a duty on the person presented with a durable power of attorney.

A durable power of attorney is used by the principal to grant an agent powers regarding the principal’s property and financial matters. Before September 1, 2017, no third party actually had to accept the durable power of attorney or recognize the agent’s power to act.

That was then; this is now. A person who receives a power of attorney now has only 3 choices: accept it, delay the acceptance in order to obtain clarification, or refuse to accept it.

There are two valid ways to delay an acceptance. The first is to request the agent’s certification or an opinion of counsel. The person must make the request within 10 business days of receipt of the power of attorney. Once the certification or opinion is provided, the person has 7 business days to accept it. A suggested form for the certification is found in the statute. There is no suggested form for the opinion of counsel.

The second delay is if the person requests an English translation. If the request is made within 5 business days, then the principal or agent must pay for the translation. If the request is made after 5 business days, then the person requesting the translation must pay for it. Once the person receives the translation, the time periods start anew for the other events.

If the agent chooses to refuse to accept the POA, then it can only be for one of 11 statutory reasons. Unfortunately, these are pretty broad. Nine require the person to provide a written explanation:

  1. The person is not required to enter into the transaction with the principal
  2. The person knows that the agent’s authority has been terminated
  3. The agent did not satisfactorily comply with the request for a certification, opinion or translation
  4. The person questions the validity of the POA or the agent’s authority
  5. There is a pending case regarding the power of attorney
  6. There is a final court decision invalidating the POA
  7. An official agency has received a report that the principal is being abused by the agent
  8. The person receives conflicting instructions from co-agents
  9. The law of a jurisdiction does not require that it be accepted
  10. The agent’s instructions violate a law
  11. The person has had a previously bad business relationship with the agent or believes that the agent is a criminal.

That explains 3 sections of the POA law. Only 71 left to go.

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The information contained in this article is general information only and does not constitute legal advice.