Many of the inquiries we receive involve Powers of Attorney (POA) — and many of these inquiries deal with the ramifications of Do-It-Yourself (DIY) templates found online.
DIY Powers of Attorney generally do not work out well for the principal and agent. Problems occur when they are tendered to a financial institution, title company, or other entity and they refuse it for one reason or another. Unfortunately, in New York, the bar is low for a third party to refuse to accept a POA. NYS GOL section 5-1504 sets out the reasonable cause standard for the acceptance of a POA. All too often we see third parties use this broad standard to refuse a POA due to the fear of future litigation.
Often this creates a problem because, by the time the Power of Attorney has to be used, the principle is no longer competent. That means the principle cannot execute, or re-execute, a proper Power of Attorney. At that point, it often becomes necessary to bring a (very expensive) guardianship proceeding.
Even when we prepare our tailored Powers of Attorney here at Schneider, Garrastegui & Fedele PLLC, I still have to have conversations with banks, at least once a week, to clarify and/or persuade legal teams to accept a POA. Entities are just very reluctant nowadays to accept something that’s not their standard form due to improper employee training or the fear of being brought into interfamily litigation.
If you or someone you love is contemplating getting a Power of Attorney, don’t be penny wise and pound foolish.
Consult with a qualified Elder Law Attorney to get it done right from the start.
Michael J. Fedele, Esq.
SCHNEIDER, GARRASTEGUI & FEDELE PLLC
135 Pinelawn Road
Suite 110 South
Melville, NY 11747
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