Connecticut’s new law reforming Powers of Attorney (POA’s) set forth in Public Act 16-40 becomes effective on October 1, 2016. Attorney David Baram, as the State Representative from Bloomfield and Windsor was a member of a legislative task force that reviewed and made recommendations before the draft proposal became law. Recently, Attorney Baram was recognized by the AARP for his assistance in reviewing and advocating this legislation known as the Connecticut Uniform Power of Attorney Act, or (CT-UPOAA).
According to Attorney Baram, there are several important changes that people should be aware of.
Under CT-UPOAA, the party granted authority to act for another (Principal) is called an “Agent”. Provided the POA grants general authority, the Agent’s powers may include the right to act for the Principal in areas of real property, personal property, stocks & bonds, commodities & options, banking, business decisions, insurance & annuities, claims & litigation, personal family maintenance, government benefits, retirement plans, taxes and gifting. These powers are included in the Short Form POA option, unless deleted by the Principal.
The act also allows for the Principal to name successor agents and co-agents. The Principal can also designate that the POA take effect upon a contingency such as incapacity. Agents are not liable for the actions of another co-agent if they did not participate in or conceal the other Agent’s breach of fiduciary responsibility.
The POA must be signed, witnessed by two people and acknowledged to be valid. The Probate Court is given authority to review a POA or obtain an accounting by the Agent upon petition of parties authorized by the Act such as a parent, spouse, guardian or conservator.
All POA’s are considered “Durable” without specifically stating so. A Durable POA Survives disability and incompetency.
A Party presented with a POA can rely upon the assumption that the Principal’s signature is genuine, unless there is knowledge that it is not genuine. A person or institution presented with a POA, must either accept the POA or request information within seven (7) business days to authenticate the POA. A person or institution must accept or deny the POA within five (5) days of being presented the information. Reasons for refusal can include: knowledge of termination of authority, violation of law, refusal to present requested information, or good faith belief that the POA is invalid. Refusal to accept for invalid reasons can result in a Court imposing reasonable attorney’s fees and costs for enforcement.
A Probate Court appointing a Conservator for the Principal now has the discretion to continue, limit, or terminate the POA. A Principal is permitted to name a Conservator in the POA for Court approval.
A POA under the Act terminates upon death of the Principal, the happening of an event set forth in the POA, or revocation by the Principal. The Agent’s authority ends, unless the POA provides otherwise, upon death of the Agent, revocation of authority, appointment of a Conservator without Court continuation of the POA, and upon divorce or annulment if the Agent is the Principal’s spouse.
For more information, please contact Attorney David Baram.