Texas Durable Power of Attorney

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The Texas Legislature adopted a new Durable Power of Attorney form, effective as of January 1, 2014.  Click here to download the Durable Power of Attorney

NOTICE: This form is being provided for convenience only and is not intended to be construed as offering legal advise. You should always consult an attorney about giving someone your power of attorney!

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Texas Medical Power of Attorney

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The Texas Legislature adopted a new Medical Power of Attorney form, effective as of January 1, 2014.  Click here to download the Medical Power of Attorney

NOTICE: This form is being provided for convenience only and is not intended to be construed as offering legal advise. You should always consult an attorney about giving someone your power of attorney!

Choosing your agent for a POA is serious stuff!

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Many people know they can find the Statutory Power of Attorney form online.  But what they do not usually understand is the extent of the authority they are giving to their agent and how the form needs to be filled out properly to be accepted once incapacity occurs.

Giving a person agency over your financial affairs means they step into your shoes and can do all kinds of things, such as, sell your house, cars, spend your money, make investments on your behalf, etc. Therefore you should makes sure you do not not give away too much authority!

Texas law does provide that an agent under a power of attorney owes the principal a fiduciary duty.  However, many times it is all but difficult to recover lost money or assets because the agent has already spent the money or disposed of the assets.  Power-of-attorney

Therefore, the important lesson is to choose your agent carefully and use an attorney to make sure the POA does exactly what you need it too!

 

Four Women Who Need a Pre-Nup in Texas

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Family Law and Divorce in Texas Plus Unsolicited Opinions

1. The Business Owner. A properly created business has exhaustive company agreements, succession planning and creditor protection. Unless you have every confidence in your documents, you may want to consider a pre-nup to set up agreements between you and your spouse. I see many family-owned businesses severely disrupted by divorce, especially by the temporary orders phase. Image a couple in crises and both spouses are signatories on the company checking account. Perhaps each believes he/she runs the business and should be able to continue to run it exclusive to the other spouse. Where does a court begin to do what’s in the marital estate’s best interest? It is much easier on the Court if there is an agreement in place.

2. The Second Wife and Step-Mother. The reason wife No. 2 needs a pre-nup has everything to do with the probate code. When a spouse dies without a will and…

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Landmines to Avoid When Taking Money from Family and Friends

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I constantly have clients that open small businesses and they tell me they are using money from friends or family members. I try to warn them about the downside of such arrangements and how to avoid future problems. There are several big mistakes that most people just do not think about in the beginning! However once a problem arises it is usually too late!

Recently I found this great new article that sums it up quite nicely.
Four Landminds to Avoid! by NFIB.com
mines
I do not usually endorse specific businesses but if you are a small business owner you should seriously think about joining an organization called NFIB (“National Federation Of Independent Business”). This organization was formed to bring together small business all over the country and give them a very big voice!

13 THINGS EVERY NEW ATTORNEY SHOULD KNOW

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These are 13 things I think all associates should know when starting out in a firm.  I hope they help you along your way to becoming a dynamic attorney.

  1. Respect your Firm. Your firm’s reputation has taken years to establish or is just getting started but either way its reputation is important.   Keep in mind that how you act with people in business and social settings can affect the firm’s reputation.
  1. Respect the Staff. The staff is your most valuable asset.  Many times they know more than us and can help you a great deal.  As attorneys we sometimes get so busy we forget to “be nice” when asking for help but it really goes a long way.
  1. Respect the Courts. The court staff is your second most valuable asset.  They decide when your hearing is set, when your case is set, help you when you make a mistake, and have the Judge’s ear.  Remember the Judge hired them, not some personnel manager.  Don’t be dismissive or complain about or to court staff.  They aren’t going anywhere and anything you tell them goes straight back to the Judge.  Also don’t ever bad mouth opposing counsel because they might just be good friends with the Judge.
  1. Look the Part. As attorneys we need to set an example for our staff, which means dressing like a professional.  When you dress casual, it gives the staff and other attorneys the impression that you don’t take your job seriously.   So if you wouldn’t wear it to court then don’t wear it to the office.
  1. Just do it. When a partner of the firm asks you to handle legal work for them, you just do it.  You find a way without making excuses!   When you are asked to work on something, then find out when the attorney wants it and when the absolute deadline is so you can plan accordingly.  Then get it done.
  1. You are never 100% right. When a senior attorney asks you a legal question that you are not 100% sure of (which is always)  say “I think …..________(fill in the blank with what you think) but let me confirm that for you.”  Then go confirm it because the law may have changed since the last time you looked at the issue and you would never want to steer an attorney in the wrong direction.
  1. Being busy is no substitute for being productive. Billable hours are important, but the most valued associates are those who not only bill, but get the job done correctly. Be a finisher.
  1. Don’t make excuses. You may get an occasional unfair review, or you may not get along with a particular partner, but law firms are meritocracies. You must own up to your shortcomings, failures and disappointments and learn from them.
  1. Be the associate everyone thinks they need. You have no idea how much partners value good associates and detest bad associates. They always notice a bad attitude, how you treat the staff, subpar work or a disinterest in your job.
  1. Learn to develop your own clients. You’ll never develop clients sitting behind your desk. You may not consider yourself a “schmoozer” or think that networking is important. Get over it. So you were told that generating business is not important as an associate? How do you think you’re going to stack up when being reviewed against your colleague with a book of business? If you don’t know how to get started, ask someone!
  2. Office Hours mean something!  If the office has set hours then make sure you are ALWAYS in the office during that time, no exceptions!  Otherwise how can a senior attorney utilize you?
  1. Take vacations. Enjoy your time off, recharge your batteries, and reconnect with family and friends. Just kick butt before you leave and when you get back! Make sure the managing partner and any other attorneys you work with on a regular basis knows you are out but always reachable.
  1. Stay confident. You are going to screw something up because no one is perfect. You may get reprimanded for it, but you need to stay confident and aggressive. A timid, defensive-minded lawyer will be stressed out, dislike her job and not be very good at it.

“Mom, I want to live with Dad”- A Mother’s Problem

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Family Law and Divorce in Texas Plus Unsolicited Opinions

“Does my child get to pick who she wants to live with when she is 12?” I get that a lot. The answer is “yes and no.” I know, I’m a big help.

The Texas Family Code allows a child to be interviewed by the judge in chambers so that he or she can express her wishes, but that does not mean he or she is the decider.

This is a mother’s problem. Fathers don’t worry about this near as much as mothers do. Mothers feel that when their children “live” with dad, that the world must think they are a terrible mother. Think about it. People wonder, “How did she lose her children?” or “what did she do?” If a mother “loses custody,” then she must have been arrested or getting treatment. When a child decides that they would prefer to live primarily with dad, mom does not lose…

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