The financial power of attorney is one of the most important documents in an estate plan.
A financial power of attorney gives another person the power to act on your behalf, as it relates to your finances. You can have an immediate power of attorney or a springing power of attorney.
Here are some quick terms to know:
The agent is the person acting on your behalf, also known as your Attorney In Fact.
The principal is the person giving the power of attorney (you).
An immediate power of attorney is effective as of a specific date, usually when it is signed.
A springing power of attorney comes into effect upon the occurrence of a certain event, typically on your incapacity.
While it might seem easy to pull up a sample power of attorney from the Internet and draft your own, New York has certain laws and procedures in place that you should know about.
Here's what you need to know to draft a simple New York power of attorney:
Draft the document in accordance with New York law. Both parties must sign the POA (the principal and the agent). You will also need to specify the agent's duties. This may be a time to check with a New York estate planning lawyer, as an improperly drafted POA could be invalidated.
The power of attorney must be filed with county Surrogate's Court. Not only must the power of attorney be furnished to the Surrogate's Court, but the POA must be accompanied by an Affidavit of Attorney In Fact Pursuant to Rule 207.48(a)(2).
This affidavit lists, among other things, the current address of the principal, the circumstances under which the POA was obtained, the relationship of the agent to the principal and any financial arrangement between the principal and the agent for purposes of the power of attorney.
New York laws can get tricky so it's always wise to talk to a New York estate planner.This post is part of FindLaw's Legal U series. We are working to help you learn what to do in your city to cope with some of the legal problems, questions, or issues that come up in daily life. Please come back to learn more from future posts in this series.