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Raymond Radigan and David Milner Raymond Radigan and David Milner

On Dec. 15, 2020, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a series of amendments to General Obligation Law §§15-1501 et seq., effective June 13, 2021, which made significant changes to the requirements for statutory powers of attorney in the state of New York. The first of what have been at times humorously referred to as the New York Statutory “Short Form” Power of Attorney was first created in 1948 as an effort to avoid requiring the principal to spell-out in detail the powers that he was granting to his agent and instead permitted a short hand abbreviation of the powers being granted and relied on the full description of the power which could be found in the statute.

Since 1948 the New York statutory power of attorney has evolved. In 1975 provisions were added permitting a power of attorney to be durable—i.e., the powers granted to the agent survived the principal’s incompetence. In 1988, springing powers of attorney permitted the agent to act only if certain events, typically the principal’s incompetence, occurred. In 1996 principals were permitted to authorize their agents to make gifts to the principal’s family provided such did not exceed $10,000. The 2009 amendments introduced the “Statutory Gift Rider” and combined what had previously been three separate powers of attorney, non-durable, durable, and springing, into a singular durable power of attorney which could then be modified to become either non-durable or springing.

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