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Power of Attorney

Power of Attorney 

As early as 1948, New York State sought to simplify the process for its citizens by passing legislation that standardized the "Short Form" Power of Attorney ("POA").  Since this early progress, New York's Power of Attorney has becoming anything but simple.  However, years of pressure to return to the simplified past have finally reached Albany. On December 15, 2020 Gov. Cuomo signed a new power of attorney bill into law with an effective date of June 13, 2021. 

New York's new power of attorney will change in many significant ways as it relates to protecting elders, increases the dollar mount that an agent is able to make in the event of your incapacity to your loved-ones.  Additionally, the law creates a legal presumption of validity to reduce the likelihood that banks or other institutions will refuse to accept an otherwise valid power of attorney.  This legal presumption is supported by the prospect for sanctions, attorneys' fees and damages in the event that a recipient of a power of attorney neither accepts nor rejects in writing with the articulated reasons for the rejection within a period of 10 days from presentment.  The law also removes the specific working that was commonly required to created a valid and enforceable power attorney.  Now, so long as the instrument substantially conforms to the required wording the instrument remains valid.  Additionally, the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic has also reached and arguably changed New York's Power of Attorney Form for the better. Most notably, the principal is permitted to execute a power of attorne without personally signing the document (i.e. electronic signature permitted) so long as two witnesses remain one of whom may also be the notary.  

These developments are welcome changes to estate planning that were brought about by the crisis of the pandemic.  Contact our office to learn more about changes to New York's power of attorney form.

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