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06/15/2024 12:37 AM
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20130&cosponId=12815
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House of Representatives
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: May 16, 2013 09:32 AM
From: Representative Mark K. Keller
To: All House members
Subject: Powers of Attorney Legislation (Former HB1905)
 
In the near future, I will re-introduce legislation (former HB1905) to address the issue of powers of attorney. A power of attorney is a legal document in which a person (principal) can appoint another (agent) to act on his behalf. The power to act for the principal may include the power to give away property, the power to acquire real estate, and the power to authorize medical treatment. A principal can appoint a family member, an attorney, or a bank to be an agent.

Currently, Pennsylvania law provides that a person who is given instructions by an agent in accordance with the provisions of a power of attorney must comply with those instructions. In addition, a person who acts in good faith reliance on the power of attorney incurs no liability as a consequence of acting in accordance with the instructions of the agent. Hence, there is statutory immunity afforded to third parties who act on instructions of an agent.

Recently, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, in the case of Vine v. Commonwealth, interpreted this statute in a way that did not immunize a third party (the State Employees Retirement System) when it was presented with what it thought was a valid power of attorney. My legislation provides that a third party who accepts a power of attorney in good faith without actual knowledge that the document is invalid may rely upon that power of attorney. Further, the bill contains a mechanism for the third party to request additional assurance, in the form of a certification or an opinion of counsel, that the power of attorney is valid. The language is largely based on the language in the Uniform Power of Attorney Act drafted by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Law. Since its introduction in 2006, 13 states have enacted the uniform law.

In addition, my legislation also borrows language from the uniform act in order to address duties the agent owes the principal and authority of the agent to make gifts.

PREVIOUS COSPONSORS OF HB1905: Aument, Barbin, Benninghoff, Bloom, Caltagirone, Causer, Clymer, P. Costa, Culver, Evankovich, Everett, Farry, Gillespie, Godshall, Grell, Hanna, Harkins, Harris, Helm, Hess, Hickernell, Kampf, Kauffman, Krieger, Lawrence, Longietti, Maher, MarshallMarsico, , Metcalfe, Millard, Miller, Moul, Murt, Oberlander, O'Neill, Pickett, Pyle, Quinn, Readshaw, Reed, Saylor, Sonney, Stern, Stevenson, Sturla, Tallman, Toepel, Toohil, Turzai, Watson.



Introduced as HB1429