Financial Power of Attorney issue. Did the law change?

Q: Long story short, my father has been in and out of a hospital for the last 2 years with complications arising from a benign tumor. Because of his medical setbacks, and in trying to conserve his money, I was able to find POA papers for PA online in order to handle his financial matters. We signed them in front of a notary, and I thought that was the end of it. However, when providing a copy of the POA to the bank to gain access to his accounts, I was informed that the form that we filled out was an old form, and since PA changed their POA laws at the beginning of 2015, was no longer valid. I would need to have a new 1st and last page signed by him and I that include the new 2015 legalese, and resubmit. The issue now, however, is that he has taken a somewhat turn for the worse, and is suffering from delirium. Because of this, I can’t have him sign anything knowing he doesn’t understand or comprehend what he is signing. Do I have any recourse to getting this rectified in his current condition without having to go through the courts to request guardianship/conservatorship privileges?

A: There is an inherit danger with pulling legal documents off the internet. PA House Bill 1429 was signed by the governor on July 2014 and made sweeping pages to Title 20 Sections 5601 through 5620, the law which governs Powers of Attorney in PA. The changes were effective on January 1, 2015. The changes not only affected the Notice requirements, but the Acknowledgement language and much more. I am sorry to say that if your father is not competent to sign a new POA, and the bank will not accept your current POA, you are out of luck. Your only option will be to seek a guardianship over your father. You should see an attorney immediately to review your options, which will likely be to file for guardianship. Unless of course, if your father rebounds, his signature can be taken, or, if he would unfortunately die, then the need for either would not be necessary.


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