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Changes to Powers of Attorney in 2015

Beginning on January 1, 2015, there are changes in Pennsylvania Powers of Attorney.  What are Powers of Attorney?  A Power of Attorney (POA) is a legal document in which the Principal gives authority to the Agent to do activities for the Principal. The powers given can involve financial matters - making deposits, writing checks, selling assets, gifting, etc. - and/or involve healthcare matters - making medical decisions, making placement decisions, etc. 

Any documents executed prior to the end of 2014 will be interpreted under existing law, so you do not need to re-do an old POA.  Some of the changes involve the NOTICE the Principal signs at the beginning of the POA, to add language that the Agent must act according to the Principal's expectations, if known, and act in the Principal's best interests, in good faith and within the scope of the Agent's authority. Another change is to the Acknowledgment signed by the Agent to make it clearer how the Agent should act. There are also changes in the powers that the Principal can give to the Agent. Based on these changes, if you do not have a POA or need to update your POA because of changes in your life, it is best to meet with a certified elder law attorney to be sure that the Powers of Attorney you sign will permit your Agent to perform the tsks that you need the Agent to do, whether it is handling your retirement accounts, health matters or gifting.    

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