Power of Attorney Disputes

A Durable Power of Attorney is a legal document that authorizes a third party to manage someone else’s financial affairs. The document remains effective even if the principal becomes disabled or incapacitated after signing it.
Power of attorney litigation usually takes place when the agent, or person chosen to manage the principal’s affairs, does not responsibly care for the finances of the principal as required by Texas state law. The most common scenario occurs when a parent signs a power of attorney in favor of one child and that child starts acting improperly, becoming secretive about his or her actions or engaging in suspicious financial transactions that do not serve the parent’s best interests. These transactions can be made without the parent’s consent or authority or in a manner that exceeds the agent’s authority under the power of attorney.
When it comes to analyzing a suspicious situation, the Texas Durable Power of Attorney does not lend itself to a quick reading and an easy answer. Many sections of the Act contain multi-layered exceptions and cross references to other sections. It can thus be very difficult to easily ascertain those circumstances by which an agent’s conduct is permitted (or not permitted).
Because an agent’s improper conduct can reduce the size of the principal’s estate on death or otherwise frustrate the principal’s estate plan, it is important to promptly address an agent’s improper acts. If you suspect someone is acting improperly in their role as an agent under a power of attorney, call us. We have extensive experience in power of attorney litigation and will investigate your claims thoroughly.
Common improper activities include:
  • Financially benefiting through an alleged agreement between the agent and the principal.
  • Financially benefiting through an alleged gift from the principal to the agent.
  • Changing the beneficiary designations or ‘payable on death’ provisions on bank accounts.
  • Attempting to change, rewrite or alter the estate plan, will or trust.
  • Negligently managing or wasting the parent’s property.
  • Paying the principal’s debts and expenses in such a way so as to intentionally deplete specific assets to frustrate the principal’s estate plan.