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New Power of Attorney Laws Ease Emergency Planning for Individuals and Small Business Owners

The public health emergency of COVID-19 should serve as a wakeup call to all New Yorkers age 18 or older -- especially people entitled to retirement benefits and small business owners. 2020 highlighted the reality every adult can suffer unexpected illness critically affecting the entire family. Effective June 2021, changes in the New York General Obligations Law streamline creation and execution of powers of attorney. Known as an “advance directive”,

a power of attorney is a powerful legal instrument enabling a person of your choice to manage your property affairs.

The new statutory amendments simplify the document. Among the changes are removal of the “statutory gifts rider” which is currently required to transfer large assets for no value. The amendments also create a procedure and timeline for financial institutions to honor or question the document. This is intended to reduce delay carrying out the principal’s affairs when timing is critical.

During the pandemic, D’Antonio Law, PLLC received numerous telephone calls from individuals unable to access retirement benefits of COVID-stricken spouses because the well-spouse lacked authority to act on the other’s behalf. Imagine losing hard-earned benefits you intended to rely upon because you become ill and cannot exercise the right to “retire” yourself. Similarly, small business owners absent contingency plans for absence can face difficulty maintaining daily operations, payroll and tax obligations, insurance coverage, and the ability to transition management. Advance planning can avoid financial catastrophe from a wage-earner’s illness or impending death.

What about an elderly parent who is immobile or medically compromised leaving home to transact business? Gone are the days the local bank “knows the family” and will allow you to act on a loved one’s behalf. These are just some examples of why powers of attorney are critical. With 2021 underway and vaccines entering the market, now is the time to prepare for the unexpected. Re-assess your needs and those of your loved ones before emergency strikes.

A thoughtfully drafted health care proxy and living will can complement planning. These documents ensure family and medical providers know your care and end of life wishes. Unexpected health emergencies are stressful. Memorializing your desires and granting a trusted individual authority to carry them out eliminates an extra layer of anxiety and second-guessing.

When properly drafted, powers of attorney, health care proxies, and living wills can reduce a multitude of problems associated with illness and end-of-life decisions. Now is the perfect time to take stock of your family’s affairs. Drafting these documents yourself can lead to devastating mistakes. Consider speaking with an attorney who practices these areas and start planning for what’s ahead.

D'Antonio Law, PLLC is located in Garden City at the heart of Nassau County’s legal district. The firm offers a variety of services in some of the most sought-after areas including elder law, guardianship, and trusts and estates. Adam D'Antonio, Esq. is a member of the Nassau County and New York State Bar Associations. He is frequently appointed by the court in guardianship proceedings for at-risk individuals. Mr. D’Antonio personally consults with all prospective clients. For more information visit the firm's website at , email , or call (516) 299-8090.

This post may constitute attorney advertising. Past success does not guarantee future results.

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