Top 10 Things to Know about Changes to NY’s Power of Attorney Law

December 21, 2020 | Wendy Hoey Sheinberg | Trusts & Estates

On December 15, 2020, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed long-awaited changes to the New York State Power of Attorney law. The changes are intended to make the power of attorney easier to use, provide a framework for acceptance or rejection of the power of attorney and clarify the power and obligations of an agent.

  1. Your existing powers of attorney remain effective.
  2. The changes take effect June 13, 2021.
  3. The new law provides a clear procedure to direct someone to sign the power of attorney on their behalf.
  4. Potential recipients of gifts effected through a power of attorney are not eligible to serve as a witnesses to the execution of the power of attorney.
  5. A refusal to honor a power of attorney must be made in writing to the principal and the agent within 10 business days of presentation.  The document must provide specific reasons for the refusal.
  6. If a proceeding is brought to compel the acceptance of a statutory short-form power of attorney, the court can award damages including reasonable attorney’s fees.
  7. The total basic statutory gifting amount is increased from $500 per year to $5,000 per year.
  8. The record-keeping requirement for agents has been clarified. An agent must keep a record of all  transactions conducted for the principal or keep all receipts of payments and transactions conducted for the principal.
  9. The separate statutory gift rider will not be required for new powers of attorney.
  10. 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 information needed to determine the legitimacy and accuracy of charges for health-related expenses and benefits.

For additional guidance on the changes to the law, please contact your attorney.

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