New legislation was signed at the end of 2020 that makes it easier for consumers to create and use a power of attorney document. Powers of attorney allow you to appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. Most people use two POAs: one for financial affairs and one for medical decisions.

What’s changed?

One of the most important changes to the law have to do with minor mistakes that would have otherwise rendered your POA document invalid in NY. The following issues in and of themselves will no longer block a POA document from being exercised as written:

  • Spelling mistakes
  • Punctuation errors
  • Formatting

Additionally, the signing requirements for Power of Attorney are updated, making it simpler for people to create and execute these documents. A person who is unable to make their own mark as a signature can now have someone else sign instead. Furthermore, two witnesses are now required (and one of them can be a notary) when executing a POA document in NY.

Banks and other institutions have no more than ten days to reject and honor a POA document. Attorney’s fees and damages can be awarded if a POA rejection from a bank or similar organization can be awarded. Any rejection can be appealed, which then triggers a 7-day response requirement from the bank or other rejecting organization.

Need to update or create a power of attorney document in New York, but don’t know where to start? Contact my office today to get support with your NYC estate planning.