Update: New York Simplifies Powers of Attorney

On December 15, 2020, Governor Cuomo signed a law that amended New York State’s Power of Attorney law.  The new law amends New York General Obligations Law, Article 5, Title 5, and becomes effective on June 13, 2021.

The New York State Bar Association advocated for these changes to make Powers of Attorney easily accessible for all types of transactions, to provide legal remedies for improperly rejecting a Power of Attorney, and to clarify the scope of the Agent’s power and obligations.

Here are key highlights:

  1. A Power of Attorney does not have to match the statutory short Power of Attorney form exactly. Any Power of Attorney is valid if the document “substantially conforms to the statutory short Power of Attorney form.”
  2. The bill eliminates the Statutory Gift Rider. Any gifting power may be included in the Modification section of the Power of Attorney.
  3. The bill increases the total basic statutory gifting amount from $500 per year to $5,000 per year to conform with the Internal Revenue Code.
  4. If an individual may be a potential recipient of any gift through a power of attorney, that individual cannot serve as a witness to the execution of an individual’s Power of Attorney.
  5. Third parties can accept and rely on an original Power of Attorney or an attorney-certified copy of a Power of Attorney.
  6. An agent must record all transactions or keep all receipts of payments and transactions conducted on the principal’s behalf.
  7. The agent will be considered a personal representative for health care financial matters.

While the bill made significant changes to New York’s law governing Powers of Attorney, all prior executed New York Powers of Attorney remain valid. Clients do not need to re-execute their New York Powers of Attorney.

Clients should feel free to contact one of us in the Tax, Trusts & Estates Department if you have any questions regarding your existing Powers of Attorney or any of your other estate planning documents (i.e. Wills, Trusts, Living Wills, Health Care Proxies, etc.).

Co-Chairs of the Tax, Trusts & Estates Department:

Martin J. Dever, Jr. mdever@winnebanta.com and Jonathan Kukin jkukin@winnebanta.com


Arthur I. Goldberg agoldberg@winnebanta.com

Peter J. Bakarich, Jr. pbakarich@winnebanta.com


Doris Brandstatter dbrandstatter@winnebanta.com

Victor Manuel Nazario III vnazario@winnebanta.com

E mail us to make an appointment or to find out more about the process

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