Effective September 1 2009, New York State amended its
General Obligations Law to impose burdensome requirements for a
power of attorney signed by an individual in that state to be
valid. Although not intended, the New York statute threatens to
invalidate a wide variety of commercial documents, possibly
including proxies by which shareholders located in New York
vote at shareholder meetings.
The amended statutory provision (Title 15 of Article 5 of
the General Obligations Law) is titled Statutory Short Form and
Other Powers of Attorney for Financial Estate Planning. It was
intended to address concerns of estate planning lawyers that
people were signing broad powers of attorney that enabled other
persons to dispose of the signers' assets without realising the
potential consequences. But the amended statute goes far beyond
its intended purpose.
The amendment was to a New York statute that simply created
a form of general power of attorney...