New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed into law a bill that supporters say will make the Power of Attorney process more “user-friendly”. A Power of Attorney is a legal document which appoints an Agent to act on behalf of the Principal, giving the Agent the authority to handle the Principal’s financial and legal affairs.
The changes in the law, which take effect on June 13, 2021, include a provision that makes a Power of Attorney valid even if it doesn’t exactly match the wording required by law. In addition, the law will also provide that if the Principal is physically unable to sign the document, the Principal can instruct another person to sign on behalf of the Principal (in the presence of two witnesses). The new legislation also permits a court to award damages, including reasonable attorney’s fees and costs, if the court determines that a third party (such as a medical provider or a bank) unreasonably refused to honor a Power of Attorney.