Listen to Lawrence…New York will soon have a new Power of Attorney

January 21, 2021
In six months’ time, New York will have a new power of attorney form. The old form was a pain in the >>>>>>, well you get the idea.  Why they are waiting six months to make the change seems ridiculous but ….whatever.  Please note that all of the powers of attorney that you currently have are grandfathered in, so there is no reason to get a new one. I am including in this email, a new article by Christopher Nolan, introducing the subject and I will let you know more about it over the months ahead.
Gov. Cuomo Signs New NYSBA-Advanced Power of Attorney Law
By Christian Nolan
News Center
In a major victory for New York State Bar Association advocacy on behalf of its members, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has signed a new NYSBA-advanced bill into law that simplifies and improves for consumers the state’s power of attorney form.
A power of attorney is one of the most widely used legal documents, allowing people who fear they will no longer be able to manage their own financial affairs to transfer that power to someone else. Doing so avoids the need for a time consuming and expensive guardianship proceeding when a person becomes incapacitated.
The current power of attorney form proved to be too complex, costly, and difficult for individuals to use. Residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities found it nearly impossible to fill out during the pandemic when an attorney was not present. Its rigid requirement that the exact language of the statute be incorporated in the document meant that the form could be invalidated for harmless errors.
The new law, which takes effect in 180 days, makes rejection of the document less likely because it allows language that substantially conforms with the statute rather than requiring the form to incorporate the exact wording. It also discourages banks and other financial institutions from improperly refusing to accept the form by allowing a judge to impose penalties and attorney fees against institutions that unreasonably refuse to accept a consumer’s valid power of attorney form.
Additionally, the reforms in this legislation eliminate the Statutory Gifts Rider.
“The reform of the power of attorney law is a big win for every New York resident and the New York State Bar Association,” said NYSBA President Scott M. Karson. “The coronavirus pandemic has forced us to reevaluate every aspect of our lives, and this important improvement could not come at a better time. It will protect our state’s vulnerable residents by helping them through a critical process at a time when a legal adviser may not be able to be at their side.” Most importantly, the new law (A.5630-A/S.3923-A) creates a presumption in favor of the validity of a power of attorney form.
“When a power of attorney form cannot be executed, the rent goes unpaid, the utility payments can’t be made, and an incapacitated person goes without services that they desperately need,” Karson said. “When a consumer no longer has the capacity to sign a new form, the misery is compounded. This new law essentially makes accepting rather than rejecting the power of attorney the default.”
I hope this helps! Please forward this information to your friends and relatives.
As always, please send me your questions. If you are thinking about it, others are probably too, so my answers will no doubt help you and many others.
Let’s stay connected.
Stay safe!