Pennsylvania's legislature recently unanimously passed HB 1429, which created several key modifications to the form and substance of our state's Financial Power of Attorney (sometimes called “General Power of Attorney”) documents. While not implemented yet, there are some important changes that the general public should be aware of:
First, the front page (Notice page) and last page (Agent Acknowledgment page) of the form itself have been modified. These are the pages generally reviewed first by most financial institution's legal departments to determine whether such a POA is valid. While you do not necessarily have to revise your POA, you may want to consider showing your current POA to your bank or other financial institution to ensure that it is on file, and valid, and able to be used if necessary.
Importantly, the new law granted certain optional alterations that permit the Principal to allow his or her Agent to engage in specific estate planning procedures if it would allow for efficient tax planning or Medicaid planning. These provisions are important to elder law attorneys seeking to assist you in planning, since older, form-based POAs may not permit your Agent to engage in meaningful asset protection if you were to enter a nursing home. POAs are a inexpensive, and it's always a good time to consider an update/revision to these important documents.