On December 15, 2020, Governor Cuomo signed an Amendment to the General Obligations Law, concerning the New York State statutory short form power of attorney. This change DOES NOT invalidate Powers of Attorney executed prior to June 12, 2021, will continue to be deemed valid, even if the Agent signed the document after June 12, 2021.
The amendment, which will go into effect on June 13, 2021, will change the existing rules in an attempt to simplify the form, which had become unwieldy and confusing to attorneys, banks and agents alike.
The amendment is intended to better protect legitimately-appointed Agents (the appointees of the power of attorney) from having their authority denied by a third party, because the document didn’t contain the exact language contained in the statute. The amendment relaxes the requirement and will recognize the authenticity of a durable power of attorney that “substantially complies” with the language in the statute.
In addition, the amendment requires banks and other third parties to honor the Agent’s authority and those who unreasonably refuse to honor the statutory short form may be liable for damages, attorneys fees and costs, if a proceeding has to be brought to compel the acceptance of the statutory short form power of attorney.
Other Major changes to the Power of Attorney law and document:
- Potential recipients of gifts made through a Power of Attorney are ineligible to serve as witnesses to the execution of the Power of Attorney document;
- The elimination of the separate “statutory gift rider”. This will be replaced by incorporating the Principal’s gifting provisions back into the power of attorney document itself;
- The basic statutory gifting amount has been increased from $500.00 per year to $5,000.00 per year;
- The record-keeping requirement for Agents has been clarified. An Agent must keep a record (e. ledger) of all transactions conducted for the Principal or keep all receipts of payments and transactions conducted for the Principal.
- The Agent will be considered a personal representative for the purpose of health care financial matters. Health care providers and health plans must provide the Agent with the information needed to determine the legitimacy and accuracy of charges for health-related expenses and benefits.