Overview

On December 15, 2020, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo 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 may avoid the need for a time-consuming and expensive guardianship proceeding when a person becomes incapacitated. The power of attorney is also widely used in many specific, limited, transactions, such as real estate closings, allowing the agent to sign on behalf of the principal.

The 2010 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 revisions to the New York Statutory Short Form POA and certain provisions of Sections 5-1501 through 5-1514 of the General Obligations Law (GOL), which will be effective for all POAs signed on or after June 13, 2021, are intended to simplify the current POA. Senate Bill Section 3923 states the objectives of the modifications to be the following:

  • To permit substantially compliant language, as requiring exact wording is an undue burden;
  • To provide “safe harbor” provisions for those who in good faith accept an acknowledged POA without actual knowledge that the signature is not genuine;
  • To permit sanctions against any individual or entity (banks, financial institutions, etc.) that unreasonably refuses to accept a valid POA;
  • To allow a person to sign at the direction of the principal, if the principal is physically unable to sign;
  • To permit the agent to make gifts of up to $5,000 per year (increased from the previous limit of $500) without requiring a modification to the form;
  • To remove all of the provisions that apply to the Statutory Gifts Rider (SGR);
  • To clarify the obligations of the agent under the POA to keep records and receipts; and
  • To clarify the agent’s authority related to financial matters concerning the principal’s health care.

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MICROSOFT WORD VERSION

NYSBA Member Price: $20.00
Non-Member Price: $35.00

Power Of Attorney 2021 (Word)

 

LEXISNEXIS AUTOMATED VERSION

NYSBA Member Price: $70.00
Non-Member Price: $99.00

LexisNexis® NYSBA’s Automated Power Of Attorney Form (2021)

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New York Statutory Power of Attorney FAQ's

New York State has enacted a new statutory Power of Attorney effective June 13, 2021. Due to the potential to assign significant powers to an Agent, we strongly urge consultation with an attorney before executing a Power of Attorney.