Senate Bill 1092 which would revise Pennsylvania’s laws governing financial powers of attorney was unanimously passed by the Pennsylvania Senate on October 1st. The bill still has to be approved by the State House in the limited time remaining in this legislative session before it can be sent to the Governor.
Among the changes that will result if SB 1092 becomes law:
(1) Powers of Attorney executed after January 1, 2013 will need to be notarized [Section 5601(B)(3)].
(2) Both the Notice form [Section 5601(C)] signed by the principal (maker) of the power of attorney and the Acknowledgment form [Section 5601(D)] signed by the agent are changed.
(3) The law will more clearly allow a principal to authorize the agent to make gifts in order to minimize taxes, qualify the principal for a benefit program, or continue a gifting program established by the principal [Section 5603(A.1)(2)].
(4) The law will improve the protection of third parties (such as Banks) who are called upon to accept a power of attorney [Section 5608]. Third parties will also be able to ask the agent to certify the continuance of the power of attorney and ask for an opinion of counsel as to whether the agent is acting within the scope of their authority [Section 5608(E)].
(5) The legislation will modify the law regarding the liability of third parties who refuse to accept an acknowledged power of attorney [Section 5608.1]. It is intended to fix the problems created by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision in Vine v. SERS Board.
It is not clear at this point in time (October 2, 2012) whether the House has the time remaining this year to consider and pass SB 1092. But, even if the legislation is not approved during this session, something similar is likely to be on a fast track towards enactment in 2013.