Effective October 1, 2016, the Connecticut Legislature revised the law applicable to Powers of Attorney. The new law affects both the process for creating a valid Power of Attorney (“POA”) and the process for using a POA. This blog post will focus on some common questions regarding the creation of a valid POA in Connecticut.

What is a POA? A POA is a document, executed in accordance with the law of the state in which it is signed, in which a principal (the person giving the power) names another person (the agent) to act on behalf of the principal in managing the principal’s affairs.

Can I still use a POA that was validly created prior to October 1, 2016? Yes. The new law provides that any POA validly created under Connecticut law prior to October 1 is still valid and enforceable. There is no need to create a new POA simply because the law changed. However, you may wish to consider creating a new POA to take advantage of some of the various new provisions now available under the revised POA law, or simply to accommodate a change in your circumstances. You should consult a Connecticut attorney experienced in drafting POA’s for further information.

What is a durable POA? “Durable” means that in the event of the incapacity of the principal, the agent still has the power to act. Under the new law, a POA is durable unless the document states otherwise.

How do I create a valid POA? Can I use a form I found online? The Connecticut law has specific requirements to create a valid POA. When using the POA to handle real estate matters, it is especially important that the POA not only be the proper form but properly executed. An online form may well refer to the Connecticut law that existed prior to October 1, 2016. If you sign a POA after October 1 that still refers to the law that existed prior to October 1, the POA will probably not be valid. You should always seek the advice of a Connecticut attorney, who can not only advise you regarding the proper form for your particular circumstances but also advise you on the proper use of the POA, and how to protect yourself from someone misusing the authority you have granted to your agent under the POA you have created.

What can I use a POA for? The short answer is almost anything. Once again, however, you should consult with an attorney to make sure that the contents of the POA you plan to sign accomplish the goal you want, while not granting unnecessary powers that could cause you unexpected problems in the future.

I have a properly notarized POA, and my bank refuses to accept it. Can they do this? The short answer under the new law is no. When presented with an original or a copy of a validly notarized POA, a party has to either accept it or request additional documentation within seven days. If the requested documentation is provided, the other party then has five days, with certain exceptions, to accept the POA. The new law allows a court to order that the other party accept the POA and award attorney’s fees for any such action.

For further information regarding the creation or use of a POA in Connecticut, contact one of the experienced attorneys at Gesmonde, Pietrosimone & Sgrignari.

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