NYS Power of Attorney Legislation

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.


Almost 800 Years Ago

Earlier today, Legal Bytes posted the answer to which planet spins fastest . . . If you were surprised that Jupiter, the largest planet in our Solar System, is also the planet that spins fastest, and you are amazed by our universe, this little fact is likely to be even more interesting. The 2020 event will be visible are occurrence will happen after sunset on Dec. 21, 2020, at the beginning of the winter solstice.
If you are still interested or intrigued, read on . . .

In just a few weeks, towards the the end of this year a celestial event will occur and be visible that has not seen for almost 800 years. The two largest planets in the solar system, Jupiter and Saturn, will form what looks like a double planet – sometimes referred to as the “Christmas Star.” This celestial event has not been visible from Earth since the Middle Ages – March 4, 1226, to be more precise. Whether you are lucky enough to have a telescope or you are just curious and want to focus your eyes on the night sky, point your gaze towards the Western horizon starting around 7:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on December 21, 2020.  While you can see it anywhere from Earth, the farther North you are, the less time you will have to catch a glimpse.

The rare event occurs when Jupiter and Saturn, the two largest planets in our Solar System, appear close to each other in the sky – separated by 1/5 of the moon’s diameter. In fact, if you do have a telescope you may also be able to see a number of the larger moons of both Jupiter and Saturn.

The overall effect is to make all of these celestial objects appear as a ‘double planet’  and to give you some idea of how rare this alignment is, the two planets won’t appear this close to each other until March 15, 2080 and then again, not until some time after the year 2400.

Jumpin’ Jupiter

In our solar system, Jupiter (the 5th planet from the Sun) is the fastest spinning planet. Jupiter’s equator rotates at 28,273 miles an hour. Which means on average it completes one full rotation in under 10 hours!

Pretty fast considering its size. Jupiter is the largest planet in our Solar System, with a mass that is literally two and one half times that of all other planets in our Solar System combined!

Venus spins slowest at about 4.05 miles per hour, while here on Earth we are spinning along at about 1,037.6 miles an hour.  It takes Venus about 243 of our Earth days to complete one full rotation.



Gloria Steinem

“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.”

No Need for Spin Classes

All of the planets in our solar system are spinning (each on its own somewhat tilted axis), but which planet spins fastest?

Time Enough

In the world of cannabis, the time 4:20 is slang for smoking marijuana (e.g. pot).

For those of you movie trivia buffs, there is a myth that all the clocks in the movie Pulp Fiction are set to 4:20. While the clocks on the wall in the pawn shop are indeed set at that time, there are at least two scenes where the clock is set at 7:22 and 8:15 respectively.

For those of you cannabis buffs, if you want an interesting summary of how 4:20 became slang for smoking pot, you can check out HuffPost for the scoop!

Mother Teresa

“One of the greatest diseases is to be nobody to anybody.”