The passage of Public Act 141 of 2012 is significant to estate planners in that it requires that an agent appointed under a standard power of attorney for finances (FPOA) to sign an acceptance before acting, and for such documents to be witnessed by two people and notarized.
For planners who have not historically included an acceptance with their financial power of attorneys, they need to start. For those who have, they need to alter their acceptances to conform to the statutorily required form. An example of this form can be found at:
Michigan law has long required acceptances for medical power of attorneys/patient advocate designations and this law does not change that.
The law should not impact the validity of existing FPOA’s that have nonconforming acceptances or no acceptances. Specifically, MCL 700.5501(7) provides that the new requirements are not applicable to documents created before October 1, 2012. Of course, problems may arise in the future with institutions that refuse to accept documents without acceptances. Accordingly, best practice may be to provide clients using existing FPOA’s with new acceptances, or otherwise make these acceptances available.
There are exceptions for power of attorneys used in business dealings and other unique situations, also described in MCL 700.5501(7).
The new law will be found in EPIC at 700.5501. It is immediately effective.
To review the legislation, go to: http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/2011-2012/publicact/pdf/2012-PA-0141.pdf