These changes include:
• The agent (the person getting power of attorney) must sign and date the power of attorney and the agent's signature must also be acknowledged (notarized). Previously, only the principal (person granting the power of attorney) was required to sign the document before a notary.
• If the principal wants the agent to have the authority to make gifts, additional requirements must be met. They include the principal initialing a separate provision granting gift-making authority and the execution of a "statutory major gifts rider" which must have two witnesses.
• Agents will now be subject to a “prudent person standard of care” with defined responsibilities. This includes keeping records (with receipts) on the agent’s transactions.
• The new power of attorney form has an optional provision that the principal can appoint a “monitor” to request and receive records of transactions by the agent.
“Most of the changes apply only to powers of attorney executed on or after the effective date. However, the provisions regarding fiduciary responsibilities apply to all powers of attorney including those executed before the effective date,” Getman noted.
The new power attorney law was originally scheduled to take effect March 1. However, on February 25, Governor Paterson signed legislation to delay the effective date until September 1, 2009.
“Anyone in New York state who plans to grant power of attorney, or accept the power of attorney, as well as those who currently have powers of attorney, should make sure to contact a competent attorney to discuss the new law, and make sure that they are in compliance with it,” Getman said.
More information on the new law can be found here.