Pennsylvania’s Act 95 Makes Changes to Durable Powers of Attorney Executed On or After January 1, 2015

By: Stefanie L. Pate, Esq.

On July 2, 2014, Pennsylvania enacted Act 95 of 2014 (“Act 95”), which includes various changes to Durable Powers of Attorney executed on or after January 1, 2015. These changes include the manner in which the Durable Power of attorney must be executed, an enumeration of powers that must be specifically stated to be effective, and third party reliance on the Durable Power of Attorney.

Durable Powers of Attorney must be executed in the presence of a Notary Public and two witnesses. Neither the agent nor the Notary Public may serve as a witness.

Additionally, Act 95 requires the following eight powers to be specifically granted to the agent:

1. To create, amend, revoke or terminate a living trust;

2. To make a gift;

3. To create or change rights of survivorship;

4. To create or change a beneficiary designation;

5. To delegate authority granted under the power of attorney;

6. To waive the principal’s right to be a beneficiary of a joint and survivor annuity, including a survivor benefit under a retirement plan;

7. To exercise fiduciary powers that the principal has the authority to delegate; and

8. To disclaim property, including a power of appointment.

Finally, Act 95 provides third parties with more flexibility to reject Durable Powers of Attorney, or to require further information before accepting them.

While Act 95 does not apply to Durable Powers of Attorney executed prior to January 1, 2015, it may prove beneficial to update your Durable Power of Attorney to conform to the new law, thereby reducing the potential for excessive scrutiny by third parties.

If you would like to learn more about the implications of Act 95 or are considering an update to your Durable Power of Attorney, the Estates & Trusts Practice Group at Leech Tishman is happy to discuss available options with you.

Stefanie L. Pate is an associate in the Estates & Trusts Practice Group in Leech Tishman’s Pittsburgh office. If you would like more information on this subject, please contact Stefanie at (412) 261-1600 or spate@leechtishman.com. Learn more about Leech Tishman’s Estates & Trusts Practice Group here.

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Leech Tishman is a firm dedicated to providing full-service commercial legal services to individuals, businesses, and institutions. We combine a deep understanding of our clients and their businesses with skilled legal counsel to find solutions. Leech Tishman offers legal services in alternative dispute resolution, bankruptcy & creditors’ rights, construction, corporate, employment, energy, environmental, safety & toxic torts, estates & trusts, government relations, insurance coverage & corporate risk mitigation, intellectual property, international legal matters, litigation, real estate, and taxation. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA, Leech Tishman also has offices in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Wilmington, DE. For more information call 412.261.1600 or visit us at www.leechtishman.com.