As of June 13, 2021, New York State has adopted a new statutory power of attorney, an estate planning document through which one person (the principal) gives another (the agent) authority over the principal's finances during the principal's lifetime.  That is, the principal grants the agent authority to spend his or her money or sell his or her property during the principal's life.  This often is completed with the principal's other estate planning documents--last will and testament, living will, and healthcare proxy--so that the principal is prepared in the event he or she becomes incapacitated or of unsound mind.  A power of attorney also may be used in the event the principal is unable to be present and sign financial documents.

New York's new power of attorney requires the same execution as a will.  While the former power of attorney required signatures to be notarized, the new power of attorney requires notarizations and the signatures of two witnesses who are not interested parties.

Additionally, the Statutory Gifts Rider, which gave the agent permission to make certain financial gifts, has been eliminated.  In the new power of attorney, gifting provisions can be included in the "Modifications" section.

Any powers of attorney that were completed prior to June 13, 2021, remain in effect and are not rendered invalid by the new changes.

It is important to note that a power of attorney expires when the principal passes away.  At that point, and once the nominated executor has been appointed by the Surrogate's Court, the executor of the principal's will becomes in charge of the estate's finances.