A Power of Attorney, (“POA”), is a useful instrument which allows you to authorize an “agent” to make financial decisions on your behalf, during your lifetime. This document, if executed correctly, is recognized by banks and other financial institutions, and allows a trusted individual to manage everything from daily banking affairs to buying and selling property.

However, for a POA to be valid, it must be compliant with applicable governing law. The following characteristics are required for a valid POA in Pennsylvania:

  1. It must be in writing, dated, signed, and notarized
  2. It must be witnessed by two individuals over the age of 18
  3. It must contain a signed Notice as provided by 20 Pa.C.S.A. § 5601(c)
  4. It must contain a signed Acknowledgment as specified by 20 Pa.C.S.A. § 5601(d)

The signed Notice and Acknowledgment are two provisions required by Pennsylvania law which must be included in every POA:

Notice: The Notice uses specific language required by the law to ensure that those creating their POA understand its power and contents. It is a page-long statement which should be found at the beginning of every POA, titled “NOTICE”.

Acknowledgment: The Acknowledgment verifies that the agent who is appointed under a POA understands its power and their responsibilities under the instrument. It is a short paragraph which should be found at the end of a POA and must be signed by the agent.

A POA is an important document for anyone to have, but it must be executed with care to be operative and useful to you. If you have any questions regarding Powers of Attorney, please contact Jamie Drennen at 412-227-0262 or jdrennen@smgglaw.com.