Rep. Foley simplifies the power of attorney process
STATEHOUSE – Senate Bill (SB) 157 passed out of the House unanimously today and will now go back to the Senate for concurrence. Rep. Ralph M. Foley (R-Martinsville) sponsored the legislation designed to simplify the power of attorney process. The bill makes two important changes to the current law; it revises who can certify a copy of the power of attorney, and it allows a child of the principal or grantor to request an accounting regardless of whether the death of the principal has occurred.
The power of attorney is created when a person authorizes in writing that another person, called the attorney in fact, to act on behalf of the grantor regarding the grantor’s business or legal matters.
Third parties often fail to accept a copy of the power of attorney and require the original; only the original could be recorded. Also, a child of the principal could not request an accounting unless the principal was deceased.
“It is neither reasonable nor practical to only exhibit the original power of attorney each time proof is needed,” said Rep. Foley. “This bill eliminates that unnecessary burden.”
Throughout the state, attorneys for banks or others sometimes refuse to accept a copy of power of attorney. SB 157 allows the person granting the power of attorney to certify that the copy is a true copy. There is often only one original document, and this bill allows a certified copy to be accepted as if it were the original.
“My mission has always been to accommodate power of attorney transactions by acceptance of the certified copy,” said Rep. Foley. “This legislation will simplify our legal system.”
The bill passed out of the Judiciary Committee last week where testimony was given in support of the legislation. A child of the principal, who was one of five children of the principal, spent around $75,000 in two weeks. Because the principal was still alive, the other children could not receive an accounting to view the outrageous transactions. SB 157 will also allow the children of the principal to receive an accounting, and, hopefully, prevent abuse by one person.
Additionally, the provisions in the legislation will make it easier and quicker for title companies and financial institutions to accept a certified power of attorney in transactions involving title to property. This can be a complex process.
Finally, a study committee was established to investigate abuse of the power of attorney authority.