In July 2014, Governor Corbett signed into law Act 95 of 2014 which made significant changes to the laws governing powers of attorney in Pennsylvania. Effective January 1, 2015, the signature of the principal must be notarized and witnessed by two (2) individuals, a practice already undertaken by Patberg Law Firm.
In 2010, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the existing Power of Attorney Statute did not provide immunity to third parties who, in good faith, accepted the power of attorney in the matter of Vine v. State Employees Retirement Board.
The new law makes it clear that third parties can now, in good faith, accept and rely upon a power of attorney without fear of liability. Certain language regarding the mandatory notice to be signed by the principal and the acknowledgment signed by the agent has been revised to reflect new duties and notice requirements. An agent must now act in accordance with the principal’s expectations and best interest; act in good faith, and act within the scope of the authority granted. There have also been clarifications as to the agent’s modifiable duties.
Although essentially already codified, the agent must keep assets separate, not create a conflict of interest, as well as act competently and cooperate with any holder of a living will. The agent also enjoys additional protection primarily so long as they act in good faith, competently and with diligence.
Other disclosure and power limits have been addressed, including trust creation, gifting and other fiduciary powers.
If you or a family member are in need of a Durable Power of Attorney, Will, or Medical Power of Attorney a/k/a Living Will, contact the law firm of Patberg Law Firm, 801 Vinial Street – Third Floor, Pittsburgh, PA 15212 at 1-800-471-6880 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.