New York State Senate Bill No. S3923A - Modifies and Simplifies the Power of Attorney Form

Last Month, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill (i.e., Senate Bill No. S3923A) into law modifying and simplifying the procedures to enter into a general Power of Attorney (“POA”) in New York State. The newly enacted law (i.e., Senate Bill No. S3923A) was sponsored by the New York State Bar Association, and goes into effect on June 13, 2021.

Previously, many people, especially the elderly and disabled, found it difficult to complete the complex POA form as the POA form was required to match exactly with New York’s statutory POA language under New York General Obligations Law Section 5-1513 (“GOL”). Further, third parties, such as banks or other lending institutions, tend to have their own specific POA forms, and often refuse to accept duly executed POAs which would have otherwise been acceptable under New York law. Understandably, this created a lot of confusion and inconsistencies concerning the execution of a POA form.

Now, and in light of Senate Bill No. S3923A, the modified and simplified POA form will loosen the prior restrictions to ensure that third parties accept the POA so long as the POA form substantially conforms with New York’s statutory POA language under the GOL Section 5-1513. Most importantly, Senate Bill No. S3923A shifts the burden from the executor of the POA to the third party to provide a reason why the POA form would be unacceptable. In turn, this will have the desired effect of making it easier for individuals to utilize and use a POA form in New York State.

In addition, Senate Bill No. S3923A provides that a Principal (the person who grants powers to an Agent to act on their behalf) under a POA may direct another person to execute the POA on their behalf in the event the Principal is unable to do so themselves.

Overall, the changes under Senate Bill No. S3923A are welcome additions to New York State law, and such changes will be especially helpful to the elderly and disabled, who are typically most in need of a POA.