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Legal Notes


Texas Tax Code Section 31.035 provides that a taxing unit may permit an individual who is at least 65 to perform service for the taxing unit in lieu of paying taxes imposed by the taxing unit on the property owned by the individual and occupied as the individual’s residence homestead.

Driver Beware

I recently received a parking citation for a violation of Texas Transportation Code (“TC”) Section 545.302 (b), that is, parking within 20’ of a crosswalk at an intersection. By the definition of “crosswalk” at TC Section 541.302 (2), the crosswalk is not required to be designated by surface markings.

The friends who accompanied me to dinner that evening and I were surprised that such a prohibition exists. So if you consider parking near a crosswalk at an intersection, carry a tape ruler.

Durable Power of Attorney

It is generally perceived that a power of attorney prepared in accordance with Chapter 752 of the Texas Estates Code as a “durable power of attorney” will be legally sufficient. However, a recent Texas Bar Journal article calls into question such perception. The proposition of the article is that it is not uncommon for a bank not to recognize the authority of an attorney in fact under a durable power of attorney for a variety of reasons.

As I have granted powers of attorney using durable powers of attorney forms in case of my own physical or mental disability, I decided to contact my banks in order to determine their respective policies regarding the recognition of a durable power of attorney. Both banks requested changes to the forms I had used. In one case the requested changes were unacceptable to me. Based upon my experience, it is a good idea to make certain that your power of attorney will be accepted by your bank, brokerage firm and other businesses and service providers with whom you may conduct business.

Supreme Court Rulings

a. In the last year the Supreme Court of Texas issued the Marsh & McLennan case, a major case affecting the drafting of non compete agreements between employers and their employees.

b. Effective January 1, 2012, far ranging changes to the laws which affect property owners’ associations went into effect.