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New York Tries to Simplify Power of Attorney Form

The power of attorney forms that New Yorkers use to protect their financial and legal interests in the event that they become medically incapacitated are “too complex and prone to improper execution,” according to the New York State Bar Association.

That group has proposed legislative changes to the current law in order to simplify the forms and add penalties for financial institutions that ignore them.

The Empire State News article “NY Power of Attorney Form ‘Full of Traps for the Unwary’” explains that some people have a modified power of attorney form that is longer than their wills.

The current remedy in such instances is to compel banks and other financial institutions to accept a valid power of attorney form by instituting a burdensome and expensive special proceeding in court. However, even if a judge orders the financial institution to recognize a valid power of attorney, the judge still can’t impose sanctions against the financial institution. The New York State Bar Association calls the remedy totally inadequate.

New York’s law was changed in 2008 and 2010 to require banks and other institutions to recognize legally valid power of attorney forms. Nonetheless, many banks and other financial institutions still require that their own forms be used. There are no sanctions against banks for failing to honor a valid Statutory Power of Attorney.

Reference: Empire State News (March 1, 2016) “NY Power of Attorney Form ‘Full of Traps for the Unwary’”

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