Significant changes in the New York Power of Attorney (POA) form

There may be a time when you will have to pay the bills or make medical decisions on behalf of a sick loved one.  Having a POA offers the ability to do those things, but the POA must be valid to be put into effect.

It may be an easier process and ensure the validity of the document if a template form offered by the state is completed. The template form has all the exact wording if required by law and helps meet the basic requirements of a POA.

New York has always had a simplified, statutory POA, but in 2021, significant changes are to be made to the form that hasn’t been revised for a decade.

The change was prompted to make the form more user-friendly by relaxing language requirements, protecting those who rely on the soundness of a POA and creating a clear procedure for accepting or rejecting a POA. 

Relaxed language requirements

The prior law for a Statutory Short Form POA was that it was to contain the exact wording, like “caution for principal” or “information for agent”.  The new law allows for flexibility in this regard.  As long as the wording substantially conforms, it will be deemed acceptable.  

There is also some latitude for inconsequential errors in wording, spelling, punctuation or formatting.  

Third-party POA acceptance protection

Recipients of a POA who are acting in good faith will be shielded from liability. This occurs if they accept a POA that was acknowledged and witnessed, but later found that the POA should have been rejected because:

  • The agent was exceeding or improperly exercising the POA
  • The agent’s power was voided, invalid, or terminated
  • The signatures were forged
  • The power was voided, invalid, or terminated

Clear procedures for accepting or rejecting a POA

Any party that receives the POA completed on the new form has 10 days to either accept, reject, ask for an affidavit, or ask for an opinion of counsel from the principal. 

If the POA is rejected, reasons for the rejections are required to be submitted in writing.  If an affidavit is requested, the party must accept or reject the POA seven days after receiving it.  However, there are no consequences installed if action is not taken in the seven days or at all.

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