The Listen to Lawrence Letter: A Power of Attorney question

August 25, 2023
August 24, 2023 • Volume 4 Issue 167
An interesting power of attorney question…read on:


I signed my new power of attorney in your office a couple of years ago, picking my son as my agent. You told me that I had to get my son to sign the document as well in order for him to ever use the power of attorney. I learned recently that a new power of attorney form is now used. Is my power of attorney still good since my son never signed the old one before the change in the law?


This is an interesting question, one most clients would not even think to ask. Here we go! First, they did create a new Power of Attorney form last year but grandfathered in all old Powers of Attorney. Therefore, we need to know if the old Power of Attorney was a good Power of Attorney if it wasn’t signed by the agent before the change in the law.

The truth is that a lot of lawyers were asking the same question, resulting in New York amending the law to give us all a clear answer. The Power of Attorney statute has now been amended by adding a new subdivision 5 to N.Y. General Obligations Law Section 5-1501B, which makes clear that Powers of Attorney need only to have been signed by the principal and conform to the law in effect at the time of the principal’s signature to remain valid and enforceable under the new law, even if signed by the agent after the effective date of the new law.

Notwithstanding this, the best practice (in most cases) is to have your agent sign the power of attorney form sooner than later.

I hope this helps! Please forward this information to your friends and relatives to share these informative answers to some very commonly asked questions.


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