On December 15, 2020, Governor Cuomo signed into law changes to the New York State Power of Attorney. Changes will take effect on June 13, 2021 and the new forms cannot be executed before that date. This also means that the old form should not be executed on or after that date.
There are a number of changes effectuated by the new statute. The law now allows the principal, the one who is appointing an agent, to direct a third party to sign the Power of Attorney on his or her behalf. As a result, a competent adult who is disabled may implement a Power of Attorney – something which was not clear under the old law. The form has been simplified. The Statutory Gifts Rider, which was extremely complicated and difficult to properly execute, has been eliminated. The new law imposes sanctions on financial institutions which unreasonably refuse to accept a valid Power of Attorney and includes a “safe harbor” provision for third parties who do accept a Power of Attorney in good faith.
It is important to note that the new law does not affect the validity of Powers of Attorney that were validly executed prior to June 13, 2021. Not only will they remain effective, but all Powers of Attorney executed prior to June 13, 2021 will have the protection from the new law which allows damages againstthird parties whounreasonably refuse to honor the Power of Attorney.