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Recent Changes to The Power of Attorney Act in Georgia

What is a power of attorney and why would I need one?

A power of attorney is a legally binding document that allows you to pick a person to handle your affairs if the need were to ever arise where you could not handle them yourself.

Recently, there have been some proposed changes to be made to The Power of Attorney Act in the Georgia State Legislature. House Bill 897 is currently sitting on Governor Brian Kemp’s desk awaiting his signature. The purpose of this legislation is to clarify and improve the Georgia Power of Attorney Act, including revising the statutory form provided. The bill itself has 23 sections dealing with amendments to the Act, but the most prominent revisions are highlighted below.

HB 897 provides for changes made to the execution of powers of attorney. If this legislation is signed by Governor Deal, then all powers of attorneys must be: (1) signed by the principal or by another individual in the principal’s presence at the principal’s express direction; (2) attested in the presence of the principal by a competent witness who is not named as an agent in the power of attorney being attested; and (3) attested by a judge of a court of record, including a judge of a municipal court, or by a magistrate, a notary public, or a clerk or deputy clerk of a superior court or of a city court created by special Act of the General Assembly, who is not named as an agent in the power of attorney being attested to. The key change in this section is that that the witness and the attesting officer cannot be agents named in the power of attorney.

HB 897 further clarifies how a power of attorney must “substantially reflect the language in the form.” The current Uniform Power of Attorney Act states that that there should be a substantial reflection to the form provided in the act, but leaves questions regarding how closely a power of attorney must reflect the form. HB 897 clarifies those questions and outlines exactly what must be included in all Georgia powers of attorney.

Another key revision that HB 897 provides is in regards to an agent’s authority. This revision makes it a requirement to specifically grant general authority to an agent. The agent may only exercise those fiduciary powers of the principal that are expressly and clearly identified in the power of attorney. This revision will help in clarifying exactly what an agent is and is not authorized to do on the behalf of the principal.

It is a goal of our law firm to be proactive in regards to all legislation that may affect our clients, and to constantly update our practice accordingly. If you believe you or a loved one would benefit from learning more about obtaining a power of attorney please contact Priya Patel today at 770-957-3937 or ppatel@smithwelchlaw.com.

Smith, Welch, Webb & White, LLC., is recognized as a premier law firm throughout the state of Georgia with expertise in this area of law. We have an uncompromising commitment to serving our clients and community. Our team of experts routinely handle a wide range of legal matters and will be happy to provide outstanding service for you, your family, or your business.

Any representations regarding the law in this Blog is made available for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog publisher. The Blog should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

 

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