The New York Power of Attorney form, which is widely used to enable someone else to handle your financial and legal affairs when you are unable to, should be revamped by the New York State Legislature. This is the recommendation of the New York State Bar Association which feels that this complicated document needs to be simplified.

“New York State’s current Power of Attorney form is far too complex, expensive and inconvenient, leading to potential pitfalls, which may not become clear until the ill or incapacitated family member needs the help a Power of Attorney provides,” said New York State Bar Association President Claire P. Gutekunst.

By executing a Power of Attorney, you can name a trusted person to handle your financial assets and legal issues if you later become incapacitated or unable to be physically present to handle a matter.

For example, the forms may be used by a 75-year-old man facing declining health; a 30-year-old woman who wants to make sure her bills will be paid if she unexpectedly is hospitalized; and homeowners who cannot attend a house closing, because they are 1,000 miles away.

The New York State Bar Association’s legislative proposal would improve the current law by:

  • Simplifying the current Power of Attorney form;
  • Preventing  banks, investment firms and other third parties from improperly refusing to recognize a consumer’s valid Power of Attorney; and
  • Authorizing use of language in the Power of Attorney form that is substantially the same as the language in the statute, in order to prevent the harsh consequence of the form being invalidated because of a minor, typographical or other harmless error.

“The goal of our legislative proposal is to ease the burden on families at a time when they need simple and effective solutions. Good public policy should ensure that consumers are able to create and use a power of attorney when they need it,” Gutekunst said