Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett signed Act 95 of 2014 into law a few days ago, changing the laws on Powers of Attorney in Pennsylvania.
Act 95 makes the several major changes to requirements of Powers of Attorney. Some of the changes include:
- Agent Responsibility: An agent now has a specific duty to the principal (person who signs the power of attorney) to act in his/her best interests.
- Third party acceptance: Pennsylvania powers of attorney ran into issues with banks and financial institutions hesitant to accept POA’s because of possible liability. The law fixes this problem.
- Limited gifting: Unless broader gifting power is defined in the POA, only limited gifting is now allowed.
- Specific Powers: Certain powers in the power of attorney now must be clearly written into the POA in order for an agent to utilize the power. Examples include changing a beneficiary designation, making a gift, etc.
- Execution changes: Notarization is now required, among other new requirements (these requirements take effect for any power of attorney signed on or after January 1, 2015).
If you have a Pennsylvania Power of Attorney, you must consider getting it revised or updated. If you do not have a power of attorney or estate plan, you should schedule an appointment with our office to establish your estate plan.
Powers of attorney are crucial for someone who becomes incapacitated. In that case, the appointed agent can step into your shoes and manage your affairs seamlessly. The alternative to powers of attorney are court-appointed guardianships, which are more time-consuming, burdensome and costly.