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What is a New York Power of Attorney?

A New York power of attorney is a legal form that acts as the authorization for an individual, known as the agent or the attorney-in-fact, to make financial decisions, healthcare decisions, real estate decisions, or estate decisions on behalf of the person granting this authority. A New York POA is often used for estate planning. However, there are other instances where a POA is a useful tool.

Quick Reference:

The person granting permission referred to as the principal, donor, or grantor.

The person receiving authorization is known as the agent or the attorney-in-fact.

NY POA Laws:

A New York power of attorney is a power of attorney form must comply with Article 5, Title 15 of the statutes of the State of New York. These statutes specifically outline the parameters of a legally enforceable power of attorney and ensures that the form, even when it is the statutory short form power of attorney, as well as its duties are defined and protected under the law. Here are some of the state’s legal requirements:

  • The principal must be a competent adult, who is at least 18 years of age
  • The principal must be of sound mind and understand what they are signing
  • The document must be signed and dated
  • Two witnesses must sign stating that the principal is of sound mind and under no duress

A principal also has the right to designate exactly which powers an agent has and which they do not have, including whether they may make gifts. A principal may also decide whether they want to revoke the POA.

In New York, a power of attorney terminates when:

  • The principal passess away
  • The principal is determined to be incapacitated and the POA is not durable
  • The principal revokes the POA
  • The principal revokes the agent’s authority and there is no co-agent or successor agent
  • The agent dies, becomes incapacitated, or steps down and there is no co-agent or successor agent
  • The purpose of the POA is fulfilled
  • A court order revokes the POA as provided for by state law
  • The agent’s authority is terminated by state law or because of divorce between the principal and the agent

Why Would You Use a New York Power of Attorney Form?

There are several reasons why someone would use a New York power of attorney form to give someone the authorization to make decisions related to their tangible personal property transactions, financial institution transactions, tax matters, or their well-being. Some of those reasons include:

  • Age, mental health reasons, and illnesses. They may want their affairs handled in specific ways. It is generally advised that everyone from those who are terminally ill to those who are perfectly healthy establish the right powers of attorney to have their matters appropriately handled and their wishes fulfilled.
  • A person with a mental illness may require a different type of power of attorney than someone with a terminal illness.
  • A person with dependent children may have the need for a different power of attorney than a single person with no dependent children.

Each person’s power of attorney needs vary. Thankfully, there are several types of power of attorney documents. Before you decide to get a power of attorney, you should seek legal advice. Ask about the best POA to suit your needs and how to revoke a power of attorney if it becomes necessary. Here are a few of the most common.

General Power of Attorney

A general power of attorney grants a single individual to handle financial matters, such as managing a bank account, on behalf of the principal.

  • This authorization would become void if the principal become incapacitated or if they were to pass away. This POA is nondurable.

Durable Power of Attorney

A durable power of attorney, also known as a statutory power of attorney, is an "extended version" of a general power of attorney because it goes beyond the parameters of a general power of attorney.

  • The term "durable" comes from the fact that this authorization continues over the grantor’s finances if they were to become disabled or incapacitated. Because this type of POA provides lasting authority over the principal's property, you should visit with a law firm about state law before using this legal document. The Office of New York State Comptroller's Office provides a Durable Power of Attorney as well as a helpful explanation of just how powerful this document truly is.

Limited Power of Attorney

A limited power of attorney, also known as a special power of attorney, grants limited power to whatever the grantor specifies.

  • In many cases, an agent will have power to complete banking transactions or make medical decisions, but will not have authority to do other things such as commit to real estate transactions (depending on what the grantor decides). Just like a special power of attorney, the authority ends if the grantor dies.

Healthcare Power of Attorney (Healthcare Proxy)

A healthcare power of attorney grants power to the agent to make healthcare decisions on the principal’s behalf.

  • It may or may not be springing or durable in nature. Therefore, it may or may not end if the principal becomes incapacitated. According to the Attorney General's website, it is not the same thing as an Advance Directive.

Minor Child Power of Attorney

A minor child power of attorney allows a parent to grant decision-making rights over their child to a temporary guardian in the case that the parent may not be present during a medical emergency.

  • This form is generally used if the parent must leave the country for a period of time. It may also be used if the child is traveling with another adult for a temporary period.

Real Estate Power of Attorney

A real estate power of attorney grants power to the agent, allowing them to buy, sell, and manage real property on the grantor’s behalf.

  • This type of POA may be durable or non-durable. Consult with an attorney about the ramifications of entering into this type of power of attorney.

Tax Power of Attorney

A tax power of attorney form allows the agent who is usually a qualified individual such as an accountant, to prepare and submit tax information to the Department of Revenue on behalf of the principal.

  • The Department of Revenue may also contact the agent related to tax matters associated with the named principal.

Vehicle Power of Attorney

The State of New York does not require a power of attorney to register a vehicle for another person if you can show proof of identity and date of birth of the applicant according to the New York DMV’s website.

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