There are a number of steps Texas residents can take to ensure their assets are distributed according to their wishes after they pass away. However, it is also important to take steps to ensure one's legacy is protected while they are alive but unable to make important financial decisions on their own, such as when their cognitive function declines due to a medical illness like Alzheimer's or due to a sudden accident.
This is why some people find that their power of attorney is an even more important document than one's will. This document outlines who will manage one's affairs after they are unable to do so. This includes performing simple day-to-day decisions such as paying bills and managing investments. The power of attorney provision is similar to one existing in a living will, which names a successor trustee to manage the estate when one is unable to.
When deciding who to name as a power of attorney, there are important considerations to keep in mind. One should not simply name an individual because of their status, such as the oldest child or partner. Since the individual must be able to diligently and intelligently handle finances, one might even want to consider consulting a professional.
Appointing more than one person could also be an avenue to pursue, as they can overlook one another. However, co-agents must live close to one another and have to be able to agree on what actions to take. It's also important to know when one's power of attorney documents kick in-is it effective as soon as one signs it or after one becomes incapable?
It is also possible to establish oversight over one's power of attorney, such as requiring them to send copies of monthly account statements or be able to access them online. It might also be possible to appoint a protector to review the agent's actions. Consulting an experienced attorney to determine the best way to create a comprehensive estate plan that establishes valid trustees, executors and fiduciaries might be the best course of action for Texas residents to follow. Thus, it is important to seek more information on this matter.