Much of the work of an estate planning attorney revolves around big, complex tools for protecting clients’ assets and allowing them to leave a lasting legacy after they are gone. Still, one of the most important documents in estate planning is the humble power of attorney.
Put simply, a power of attorney document gives one person authority to make legal decisions in another person’s name. This can be crucial in cases where a person has become incapacitated due to illness or injury. For instance, if a person is in a coma, the power of attorney document allows a loved one or trusted professional to make important decisions on their behalf.
New York form
A power of attorney can be very convenient during difficult times, and these documents are very common. Now, under a New York law that recently went into effect, a power of attorney is easier than ever to set up.
For years, many complained that the previous version of the state’s power of attorney law made the process too difficult and expensive. The requirements of the law meant that a form could be invalidated due to tiny errors or omissions. Nursing homes in particular found the process frustrating and impractical.
The new version of the law simplifies the process. Among other changes, the new law takes away some of the formal requirements of the old law, and gives leeway to people who make small errors or omissions as long as a court finds they were acting in good faith.
While the new process has many improvements, the power of attorney still requires a great degree of care. It is no small thing to give one person legal rights over another person. Those who are starting to think about their estate plans, or who are concerned about their parents or other relatives, can speak to a skilled estate planning attorney about their options.