Your Financial Power of Attorney May No Longer be Valid After 2014

There are numerous things to look forward to in 2015:  A New Year, new goals, and a new law regarding Financial Powers of Attorney.

A Financial Power of Attorney is a document that allows you to name one or more Agent(s) who can make financial and other decisions for you.  But I’m perfectly able to care for myself – why do I need this Power of Attorney?  You never know what might happen.  Suppose you are injured in a car accident and are unresponsive for weeks, or suppose you go on a last-minute vacation.  Who will pay your bills and manage your finances?  Your spouse?  Your child?  A friend?  Banks and other institutions generally do not allow a spouse or child to act for you unless he/she has authority under a Financial Power of Attorney, or some other recognized authority.

Pennsylvania recently changed the law for Financial Powers of Attorney.  Certain parts of that new law are already in effect.  However, changes in the law such as the front page Notice, who must sign the document, how the document must be signed, and other changes will take effect January 1, 2015.

What does this mean for you?  Even if you already have a Financial Power of Attorney, yours may no longer be valid after January 1, 2015.  A bank or other institution may no longer recognize your document if it does not comply with the requirements of the new law.  Additionally, circumstances may have changed in your life since you signed your Power of Attorney, and you may wish to revise the document.  Now is always a good time to review your Power of Attorney with a lawyer.

If you do not already have a Financial Power of Attorney, don’t wait!  Nobody has a crystal ball to predict the future.  Nobody can predict when the need for a Power of Attorney may arise.  Without a Financial Power of Attorney in place, generally the only other way for someone to manage your finances is to have that person appointed as a guardian by the court.  This process is time consuming and much more expensive than having a Financial Power of Attorney prepared by a lawyer who is familiar with this area of law.

Don’t wait!  Call a lawyer who does Powers of Attorney – before the unexpected happens.

By Jeffrey C. Youngs, Esq.

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