Georgia’s New Power of Attorney Law

A Power of Attorney is a legal document that names another person as agent to handle financial and business affairs for the person who signed the Power of Attorney.  On July 1, 2017, Georgia implemented a new law on Powers of Attorney that should make it easier for families to use a Power of Attorney when needed.

Under the old law, banks and financial institutions often refused to accept a Power of Attorney because  they said it was too old.  That caused hardship for many families.  It was a common occurrence for a parent to sign a Power of Attorney naming a child as agent, but when the child tried to use it several years later because the parent had dementia, the bank refused to honor the document. That meant going above local bank managers to higher ups or even hiring an attorney to argue with the bank.  Sometimes the family ended up having to go to court to file for Guardianship and Conservatorship, which was what having the Power of Attorney was supposed to prevent.

The new Power of Attorney law says that a Power of Attorney can’t be rejected simply because time has passed since it was signed.  There are methods to establish that it is still a valid document.  If a bank still refuses to accept a Power of Attorney after the steps outlined in the new law to prove its validity are followed, a court can order them to accept it and to pay for the costs of  having to file that court action, as well as damages.

This is great news for families, because they can now have confidence that a Power of Attorney using the new form, signed after July 1, 2017, will work when it is needed.  Because the new law only applies to Powers of Attorney that are signed after July 1, 2017, and the old law will still apply to Powers of Attorney signed before that date, people with old Powers of Attorney should be sure to update them using the new form.

If you want to make sure that you are secured with the right Power of Attorney with the new law change, then make sure and contact us today.  We will help you update your Power of Attorney so it will be effective!

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