As we reported previously, Pennsylvania has adopted changes to its power of attorney law. Some changes have already gone into effect and others will take effect January 1, 2015.
Here are some thoughts on how the new law may affect you, depending on your situation.
You have a current POA
If the POA you have now meets your needs, there is no need to change it. The new forms, and the new rules about what powers may be authorized under a POA, apply only to POAs created on or after January 1, 2015. Existing POAs are grandfathered in, with their current powers intact.
You serve as the agent under a POA
If you are already someone’s agent under a POA, your duties have been changed and clarified somewhat. In most cases the new rules will make no difference to what you are doing.
However, if you have accounts that are not entirely separate from the accounts of the principal, you may need to change them. Under the new rules, your funds must be kept separate unless they “were not kept separate as of the date of the execution” of the POA, or “the principal commingles the funds after the date of the execution of the power of attorney and the agent is the principal’s spouse.”
You should already be keeping a record of all receipts, disbursements and transactions. Under the new rules, you are required by law to do so unless the POA provides otherwise.
You are presented with a POA
If you work at a bank, or other entity that is asked to take action by an agent under POA, you will need to become familiar with the new rules on honoring a POA. Within 7 business days, you must usually accept the POA or make certain requests for clarification as allowed by the statute. However, there are some circumstances under which you are not required to accept a POA (such as when you know for a fact that it has been terminated). You may not require an additional or different form of POA.
Entities that are regularly presented with POAs are well advised to train their employees on the new guidelines.