Recent Changes to the use of Power of Attorney (POA)

Contributed by Carolyn A.W. Whitworth

Using a Power of Attorney (“POA”) could soon be a lot more complicated.  New legislation was passed in Pennsylvania in an effort to minimize the opportunities for abuse perpetrated using a POA and to provide clearer guidance to those accepting an agent’s instructions under a POA.  Among the many changes, there are more stringent requirements for execution (including some new requirements for commercial POA’s), more clearly defined protections for agents, and more options for one offered a POA by the agent to evaluate whether the POA should be honored.  Those accepting instructions from an agent under a POA (for example banks) may request that the agent provide any of the following before following such instructions:  (1) an affidavit concerning any factual matter relating to the POA, the principal, or the agent, (2) an English translation of the POA or any part not written in English, and/or (3) an opinion of counsel indicating whether the agent’s instructions are within the agent’s authority granted in the POA.  Those planning to act on behalf of a principal using a POA should be aware that having the POA honored might take time and that they should allow plenty of time to have the POA evaluated before action can be taken.  If you have questions about the use of a POA, whether as agent or one accepting the instructions of an agent, please contact your Tucker Arensberg attorney or Carolyn Whitworth.