Big Changes to Pennsylvania Powers of Attorney
Pennsylvania has changed the law governing PA powers of attorney (POA). This article provides an overview of changes affecting your communications with clients. References to “agent” refer to the person authorized to act for the principal (not realtors). If your clients have questions about how the new laws affect them they should consult an attorney.
Changes when signing the POA and POA notice provisions – Effective January 1, 2015
- All POAs must be signed by two witnesses who are 18 or older and notarized. The witnesses cannot be the notary or the agent. If your client has a power that was signed before the effective date, they can continue to use it after 1/1/15 (subject to lender or other requirements).
- There is updated Notice language for the principal and for the agent. The changes were made to ensure that the principal understands the impact of using a POA and the agent acts in the principal’s best interests and within the powers granted.
- Unless otherwise in the POA, the agent can only make gifts specifically mentioned in the POA.
Changes to the Duties to Accept a POA – Effective July 3, 2014 (& retroactively).
- A third party can request that the agent provide: 1) a signed affidavit confirming information; 2) an English transaction; 3) and/or an attorney’s written opinion.
- Even if the agent supplies the document(s) requested, a third party can refuse to accept the POA if she has a good faith belief that the power is invalid or the agent is acting outside of the authority granted.
The law gives immunity to a third party who in good faith accepted in POA that is faulty, invalid or expired POA. It also limits their liability for refusing to accept a valid POA. The requirement that only an original POA can be recorded is unchanged.