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Practice Area

Power of Attorney

Key Takeaways

  • A power of attorney document allows someone to act on your behalf for important aspects of your life, including managing finances, making gifts, handling government benefits, and more. However, whatever you want the person to do must be explicitly laid out in the document.
  • A power of attorney is only effective while you are alive. Upon your passing, an executor or trustee would take over.

Power of Attorney Lawyers in New York City and Suffolk County

In 2021, the New York State Power of Attorney law underwent an amendment which included the creation of a new standard form for the document. However, this standard form may not include all the necessary powers that could be required in the future. As a result, legal practitioners must modify the document in the “modification” section to include specific powers relating to allowable transfers.

While a power of attorney signed before June 13, 2021 remains valid, it is recommended to have a knowledgeable attorney review the document to ensure it contains all the potentially necessary powers.

What Is a Power of Attorney (POA)?

A power of attorney is a crucial legal document that empowers someone to act on your behalf in handling the important aspects of your life. The person signing the document and giving the power is the “principal” and the person they are naming to act on their behalf is the “agent.” Your agent can manage bank accounts and investments, make gifts, handle government benefits, file taxes, and manage business affairs. A power of attorney is only effective while you are alive, and at death, an executor or trustee takes over.

It is important to know that not all powers of attorney are the same, and an agent is only authorized to act if the power is explicitly listed in the document. When assigning powers, make sure they are clearly articulated or your agent will not have the ability to act. For instance, a modification power can give your agent the authority to handle specific properties, such as the ability to sell or transfer a property, and name its address.

Consider an example: among the standard powers granted by a power of attorney is the ability to engage in “real estate transactions.” However, it may become necessary for the power of attorney to include a modification power giving the agent authority over a specific property, naming the address of the property that you are allowing your agent to transfer or sell.

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How We Can Help

Burner Law is committed to helping clients plan for their future and protect their assets. With our expertise in estate planning and elder law, we can assist clients with creating a Power of Attorney that meets their unique preferences and needs while providing peace of mind for loved ones.

Common Questions About NY State POA

Creating a power of attorney can be a complex task for many people, and it can be challenging to make decisions about who to appoint as your agent. However, with clear information and helpful advice, you can plan ahead to ensure that you and your loved ones have peace of mind in the event that you become incapacitated. By appointing someone you trust to make important financial, legal, and healthcare decisions on your behalf, you can rest assured that your affairs will be handled according to your wishes.

What Is Durable Power of Attorney?

A durable power of attorney is a legal document that allows you to appoint someone to act on your behalf in the event that you become unable to make decisions for yourself. Unlike a regular power of attorney, which becomes invalid upon your incapacitation, a durable power of attorney remains in effect upon your incapacity. A durable POA “endures” even if the person who made the POA is no longer able to manage their affairs. This means that the person you appoint as your agent can continue to make important decisions on your behalf.

What Is a Non-Durable Power of Attorney?

A “Nondurable” Power of Attorney remains in effect until it is revoked by the Principal, or until the Principal becomes mentally incompetent or dies. A “Nondurable” Power of Attorney is often used for a specific transaction, like the closing on the sale of residence, or the handling of the Principal’s financial affairs while the Principal is traveling outside of the country.

What Is a Springing Power of Attorney?

A Springing Power of Attorney is a type of durable Power of Attorney document that only goes into effect after specific conditions are met. These conditions typically relate to the mental or physical incapacitation of the Principal. The 2021 Power of Attorney is a durable Power of Attorney that becomes effective as soon as it is signed by the Agent(s). Legal practitioners have the option of including “springing” language in the Modifications section of the document. However, this is a bad idea because it is extremely difficult to prove to a financial institution that a certain event transpired.

Is There a New Power of Attorney Law in New York?

As of 2021, the New York State Power of Attorney law has undergone significant changes with the creation of a new standard form for the document. This new form may not include all the necessary powers for future use, especially in cases of incapacity. It is even more important to have a legal advisor to tailor the modification section to include specific powers. For example, additional powers are now required for gifts exceeding $5,000.

Other changes to the law now allow for a third party to sign the power of attorney document on behalf of an individual that is physically unable to do so. The principal must of course have the requisite mental capacity and be present to direct the person signing on their behalf. This is a significant win for the physical disability community.

The new law also puts in place provisions to ensure the power of attorney is not unreasonably rejected by third parties, such as banking institutions, title companies, etc. There is now a process in place, with specific time periods prescribed, for a third party to provide notification that it is rejecting the authority of an agent. Once rejected, there is a process for the principal and agent to defend their position – and even receive reimbursement for court costs.