Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has signed legislation amending New York State’s law relating to power of attorney forms. The legislation makes granting, using and understanding a power of attorney simpler and removes much of the complexity traditionally associated with individual powers of attorney in New York. Under the previous statute, these forms could be invalidated on technicalities if the exact wording of the statute wasn’t followed. Furthermore, often the form was not easy to put into effect – especially if you didn’t have a lawyer there to help the grantor understand what they were signing and the powers they were agreeing to grant. A hardship to many vulnerable nursing home and assisted living residents – especially during this pandemic.
While understanding the implications and legal effect of granting a power of attorney is still an essential ingredient to effectiveness and enforcement, the new law, Chapter 323 of the 2020 Session Laws, becomes effective 180 days from December 15, 2020. What’s changed?
- The new law modifies the prior requirement of “exact wording” in the “Caution to the Principal” and “Important Information for the Agent” sections of a power of attorney. Although those sections are still required, the ‘exact language’ requirement has been replaced with a “substantially conforms” standard – making it less likely that innocuous and immaterial technical differences will invalidate the power;
- The new legislation creates a presumption in favor of the validity of the power of attorney form and expressly provides that anyone accepting an acknowledged power of attorney with no actual knowledge the signature isn’t genuine, may rely on the presumption the signature is, in fact, genuine;
- Although the unwillingness or inability of an agent to provide an opinion of counsel or certification is grounds to refuse to honor a power of attorney, if a third party has a good faith belief the power is valid and has no knowledge that it isn’t valid or the agent doesn’t have the authority for a particular act, they can now feel comfortable honoring the power of attorney in reliance on the agent’s authority. In fact, the new law allows a judge to impose penalties (including attorneys’ fees) if an institution unreasonably refuses to accept a presumptively valid power of attorney form;
- One other welcome benefit of the new law. The statutory gifts rider has been eliminated and the authority to make gifts above “standard amount” is to be included in a modifications section in the power of attorney itself. If there is no gifting language in the modification, the authority to make gifts is now $5,000 in any calendar year (up from the previous $500).
To many, welcome and long overdue changes to the power of attorney law in New York State. You can read the amended version of the legislation that was signed by the Governor of New York State here: NYS Power of Attorney Legislation.
As always, if you have questions about anything in this post, feel free to contact me, Joe Rosenbaum, or any of the Rimon lawyers with whom you regularly work.
Honored to have an article I (Joe Rosenbaum) wrote: “Managing Contract Risks & Remedies in a Time of Coronavirus”, published by Thomson Reuters in the June 2020 issue of Cyberspace Lawyer! Many thanks to the Editor-in-Chief, Michael D. Scott, a long-time professional colleague and good friend!
Since that article was submitted for publication, an interesting new development arose at the end of June which was also posted here on Legal Bytes. A bankruptcy judge in Illinois has opined on at least one instance where a party to a real estate lease agreement can take advantage of such a clause. You can also read that update right here: COVID-19 and Force Majeure: What’s In Your Contract?
The strain of of the corona virus pandemic is not only a threat to our health and safety, but it is also creating economic hardship for people, businesses and entire industries.
As the ability to perform obligations under existing contracts are being strained, whether for supplies, paying rent or making payroll, parties to agreements are doing more than exercising self-help or looking to the government for assistance. They are also calling their lawyers to find out if anything in their contracts will allow them to legally extricate themselves from the obligations that may have seemed routine only a few months ago.
One of the primary areas of contractual inquiry has focused on the force majeure or excusable delay clause that is ‘boilerplate’ in many agreements. Force majeure literally translated from the French means ‘superior force’ and refers to situations in which some external intervening event has impaired a party’s ability to perform its obligations under the contract and allows that party’s performance to be excused.
For some insight on how effective, applicable and even understandable these so-called ‘standard clauses’ are, you can take a look at my Insight Note: Managing Contract Risks & Remedies in a Time of Coronavirus.
You might also check out a similar Insight Note from my partner and colleague, Juan Zuniga entitled: Memo on Force Majeure and COVID-19 which goes into great detail as to how the law in California might be interpreted in light of the current health crisis.
In fact, you can find all of the recent Insights from Rimon Law professionals on our Insights & Analysis page and once again a reminder that Rimon lawyers and legal professionals are always available to help.
– Dror Futter, Partner
Since the early 2000’s, the National Venture Capital Association has maintained model legal agreements for Series A venture financings. These forms are the templates for most of the Series A financings in the United States and are periodically updated to adjust to changes in the market and the legal/regulatory environment.
The most recent update includes additional provisions for life science investments, shareholder approval rights for ICOs and an option for alternative dispute resolution under the Delaware Rapid Arbitration Act.
Rimon Law partner Dror Futter, a member of the NVCA model forms drafting group, provides an expanded summary of the changes in the most recent update in the following client alert you can read right here: NVCA Updates Its Series A Model Legal Documents.
If you have any questions or want further information, feel free to contact Dror Futter directly and, of course, you can contact me, Joe Rosenbaum or any of the attorneys at Rimon Law with whom you regularly work.