New York has a New Statutory Short-Form Power of Attorney

22 June 2021 Tom Sciacca
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{Read in 4 Minutes}  As a Trusts and Estates attorney based in New York, a Power of Attorney is one of the many documents that I prepare for clients as part of an overall estate plan. To review, a Power of Attorney is a document whereby a Principal can appoint an Agent to control their financial affairs on their behalf. New York, like many states, has created a “Statutory Short Form” version of the Power of Attorney. The form itself exists directly within our General Obligations Law and there are certain benefits when one uses a statutory short-form, most notably that banks are required to accept it.

The last time New York updated its statutory short form was in 2009 and 2010 when the legislature updated the form twice in two years. New York, like many other states, periodically updates their statutory short form to meet the changing needs of both the citizenry and also of the banks and brokerage firms that operate within the state of New York. 

So now there is a new form. Now for the question: “Now that there is a new form, what happens to my existing form? Do I need to see my attorney to draft a new Power of Attorney form?”

A simple answer (for most people) is you probably don’t need to do anything or update the form at all. 

Much like prior revisions to our statutes, the creation of a new statutory short form does not invalidate any document signed before the enactment of the new law. Any forms that a client executed during the period while that version of the statutory short form was applicable law is “grandfathered” in and continues to be valid. There is no need to go out and execute a new form. If you try to use a valid statutory short form executed under the prior law and receive pushback from the bank, always go “full Karen” and ask to speak to the manager (then ask them to seek approval from the bank’s legal department). You will almost always prevail at the end of the day.

That said, the availability of a new form is always a good opportunity to review your existing estate planning documents and determine whether or not you need to update them. My general advice to clients is if you have occasion to update your Will, Power of Attorney, Health Care Proxy, or Living Will, anyway, it doesn’t hurt to update the other documents. Otherwise, the form that you have is probably just fine, and there is likely no need to run out and see your attorney and spend your dollars on legal fees to revise it. However, if you’re going to lose sleep over not having the newest and most exciting form, feel free to call your attorney (we have student loan bills to pay!), but I doubt we’ll get very many calls for this. It’s not something exciting like when the new iPhone is coming out!

For more information on this topic, please contact me.

Thomas Sciacca

Thomas Sciacca

www.sciaccalaw.com
Tom@SciaccaLaw.com
(212) 495-0317