With the New Year comes a new law. The Pennsylvania Legislature has announced Act 95, which aims to provide greater protection for those granting a power of attorney.
What Exactly is a Power of Attorney?
A power of attorney is a document that explicitly appoints a person (your Agent) certain powers and decision-making authority over your specified legal, financial or medical matters. A power of attorney can be utilized for heath or medical decisions or both, and they do not have to be the same person. Most often, a power of attorney is used when you become incapacitated or unable to handle your own affairs.
So What Has Changed?
The immediate impact felt will be the requirement of witnesses and notarization of powers of attorney. From now on, a power of attorney executed without a notary and witness present will be invalid and unusable. Further, the notary cannot be your agent and the witnesses cannot be the notary or your agent.
The new law requires powers of attorney to be written with more specificity – rather than previously allowed generalizations about the powers granted to your agent. For instance, under the new law a person holding a power of attorney must be specifically granted power to make gifts, amend an inter vivos trust, create or change rights of survivorship, disclaim property or change beneficiaries designations. Previously, Agents could have taken these measures with uncertainty. Now, if it is not specific, it cannot be assumed to have been intended by the person granting the power of attorney.
Klenk Law is well ahead of the curve on these changes. All estate documents signed in our Pennsylvania office are witnessed and notarized. Also, if you have a Klenk Law Pennsylvania barred estate planning attorney present at the time you sign the Power of Attorney, that attorney will be a qualified notary in Pennsylvania.
If you have questions about powers of attorney and Estate Planning in Pennsylvania, feel free to contact our office for a free consultation.
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