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Governor Cuomo has just signed new legislation that makes significant changes to the power of attorney statute. It introduces a revised and somewhat simplified statutory form to replace the existing form. The most notable change is the removal of the separate statutory gifts rider, which was a significant source of confusion. Instead, the authority to make gifts can be included in the modification section of the power of attorney itself. This also eliminates the requirement to have two witnesses to properly execute a full power of attorney. Now, only the usual notary will be required.
The ongoing pandemic has shown how essential a power of attorney is to assist a friend or loved one with their finances in a time of need. However, the technical requirements of the existing power of attorney posed a hurdle for many. Hopefully these changes will make it easier for everyone.
A power of attorney, which appoints a trusted family member or loved one to act on your behalf for financial matters, is an essential part of every estate plan. The appointed agent has the authority to handle your income and assets, including banking matters, real estate transactions, and more.
The new legislation also loosens some of the technical requirements for a power of attorney to be valid. A typo or other small change from the statutory form will no longer render the entire power of attorney invalid.
Another major change is that third parties (like banks) who reject a power of attorney must provide their reasons for rejecting it in writing within 10 days. The third party also cannot insist that you use their particular form of power of attorney. If a third party unreasonably refuses to accept your power of attorney and the agent brings a court proceeding to force them to accept it, the third party may now be forced to pay the agent’s attorney fees and other damages.
The new law goes into effect in six months (June 13, 2021), and existing power of attorney documents will be grandfathered in. Do not wait – your estate planning should continue without delay.
Contact the experienced attorneys at Cona Elder Law at 631.390.5000 if you have any questions about the new power of attorney and to discuss how to make a power of attorney part of your estate plan.
Cona Elder Law is a full service law firm based in Melville, LI. Our firm concentrates in the areas of elder law, estate planning, estate administration and litigation, special needs planning and health care facility representation. We are proud to have been recognized for our innovative strategies, creative techniques and unparalleled negotiating skills unendingly driven toward our paramount objective - satisfying the needs of our clients.
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