I get calls every week from family members concerned that another family member might be abusing a power of attorney issued by an elderly or infirm client. We take these concerned calls very seriously, as did the New York State Legislature, who recently amended the General Obligations Law relating to Powers of Attorney. There are some traps for the unwary signer, however.
New York’s new power of attorney law contains language that “automatically” revokes old powers of attorney, unless you specifically state that it does NOT. If you are asked to sign a new Power of Attorney in New York after September 2009, think long and hard about the effect of signing such form. For example, if you are a recording artist, did you sign an agency agreement; a real estate partner, a power to the managing partner; a life insurance recipient, a right to such benefits. If so, you should be careful not to revoke any old powers of attorney.
Bottom Line– You need to be educated to be smart. Ask your attorney what the effect will be if you sign a Power of Attorney.