Financial power of attorney authority can inspire challenges

In Texas, a financial power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that grants an individual, known as the agent, the authority to make financial decisions on behalf of another person, known as the principal. This role encompasses various responsibilities, from managing day-to-day financial transactions to handling more complex matters such as real estate sales or investment decisions.

A financial POA is generally treated as a durable power of attorney that aims to ensure that the principal’s financial affairs can be managed efficiently if they can’t do so themselves due to physical or mental incapacity. An agent is expected to manage the principal’s finances with the utmost care and loyalty, avoiding conflicts of interest and ensuring that all decisions benefit the principal.

Responsibilities and decision-making

The scope of an agent’s authority can vary widely, depending on the terms of the POA document. Typical duties include paying bills, managing bank accounts, investing money and handling tax matters. The agent may also be authorized to buy or sell real estate, manage retirement accounts and engage in estate planning activities on behalf of the principal.

Potential challenges

Agents acting under a financial POA in Texas may encounter several challenges. One significant issue is the potential for disputes with family members or other interested parties who may question the agent’s decisions or allege misuse of the POA.

Another challenge is the potential for third party refusal, such as banks or financial institutions, to recognize the authority of the POA. Although Texas law requires these entities to accept a valid POA, some may be hesitant or require additional documentation, which can delay or complicate financial transactions.

The duties of a POA must be executed in accordance with applicable laws. Working with someone who can assist with these matters to ensure legal compliance is critical.