power of attorney lawyer in Doylestown
Why a Power of Attorney is important - - -
legal counsel for the elderly
The importance of a properly drafted and executed power of attorney cannot be overemphasized. There are many practical real life scenarios when a Power of Attorney can come into play, some of which are as follows:
1. For the elderly who are in or expected to be in situations where they can become either physically or mentally unable to attend to their affairs (for example, when elderly parents can no longer take care of themselves and one or more family members needs to step in and take care of them).
2. In families where a spouse or another member of the family may become indisposed due to an illness, a stay in a healthcare facility or may be away from the home area for a period of time such that the person is unable to handle his or her affairs (examples of this include situations such as when a family member becomes ill, has a stay in the hospital, is involved in an accident, is sent or deployed abroad, etc.).
3. Situations where a person is in a foreign country or away from the area or may otherwise become unable to properly or timely attend to the need for signatures on documents (for example, having a person with a Power of Attorney for you attend a real estate closing and sign the necessary documents when you are unable to attend or at a distance that makes attendance costly or impractical).
What the 2015 Power of Attorney law revisions mean - - -
For 2015, Pennsylvania made some significant changes to the laws defining what constitutes a proper and valid Power of Attorney. If you have a Power of Attorney that was properly and legally drafted and signed under the laws as they existed prior to 2015, that Power of Attorney should still be accepted as being a proper and valid document. However, as time passes, if it is feasible and if the opportunity presents to update the Power of Attorney (i.e. have a new one signed) to comply with the present law, that may be a wise course to follow.
While the new laws are quite complex and a detailed discussion of them is beyond the scope of this page, some of the practical highlights of the 2015 laws are:
1. A Power of Attorney must contain a new notice page with new notice provisions (required by statute) that are properly signed by the person granting the power.
2. A Power of Attorney must contain a page with specific new wording that the agent must sign to accept his or her responsibilities under the Power of Attorney. This page for the agent contains new provisions (required by statute) that define the agent's fiduciary responsibilities under the Power of Attorney.
3. Every Power of Attorney must now be witnessed by two witnesses over 18 years of age, and properly notarized (acknowledged) as well.
4. The new laws make it so copies of a Power of Attorney can generally be relied upon with the same force and effect as if the holder of it has an original. Previously this was an issue because many institutions, banks and others would only accept an original or a certified copy of a Power of Attorney, which meant one might need to have multiple originals of the Power of Attorney, or and original needed to be filed with the court (Office of the Recorder of Deeds) and certified copies would then need to be obtained (i.e. at additional fees and costs).
Practical Tip for obtaining a Power of Attorney in 2015 and thereafter - - -
In truth, the new Power of Attorney laws are quite complicated and there is no doubt that one should have the assistance of an attorney in the preparation and execution of a Power of Attorney. The last thing anyone wants to have happen is for the agent to go to use a Power of Attorney an emergency or other difficult situation, only to find out at that time that it will not be accepted or honored because it does not comply with the law. This could present a real problem, especially if it it is not possible to have a new one signed at that time. If you are thinking of making a Power of Attorney, this is not the type of situation where you can download some form off the internet and tweak it a little and everything will probably be okay, it likely will not be.
If you need help with a Power of Attorney please feel free to call us at (215) 345-4181. Power of attorney lawyer in Doylestown, PA
Whitley Law Office
199 North Broad Street
Doylestown, PA 18901