2019 Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes
Title 20 - DECEDENTS, ESTATES AND FIDUCIARIES
Chapter 56 - Powers of Attorney
Section 5601 - General provisions
(a) General rule.--In addition to all other powers that may be delegated to an agent, any or all of the powers referred to in section 5602(a) (relating to form of power of attorney) may lawfully be granted in writing to an agent and, unless the power of attorney expressly directs to the contrary, shall be construed in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
(1) A power of attorney shall be dated, and it shall be signed by the principal by signature or mark, or by another individual on behalf of and at the direction of the principal if the principal is unable to sign but specifically directs another individual to sign the power of attorney.
(2) If the power of attorney is executed by mark or by another individual, then it shall be witnessed by two individuals, each of whom is 18 years of age or older. A witness shall not be the individual who signed the power of attorney on behalf of and at the direction of the principal.
(3) For a power of attorney executed on or after the effective date of this paragraph, the signature or mark of the principal, or the signature of another individual signing a power of attorney on behalf of and at the direction of the principal, shall be:
(i) Acknowledged before a notary public or other individual authorized by law to take acknowledgments. The notary public or other individual authorized by law to take acknowledgments shall not be the agent designated in the power of attorney.
(ii) Witnessed by two individuals, each of whom is 18 years of age or older. A witness shall not be the individual who signed the power of attorney on behalf of and at the direction of the principal, the agent designated in the power of attorney or the notary public or other person authorized by law to take acknowledgments before whom the power of attorney is acknowledged. Nothing in this section shall prohibit an acknowledgment of a power of attorney before a member of the bar of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in the manner authorized by 42 Pa.C.S. § 327(a) (relating to oaths and acknowledgments) certified in the manner provided by 57 Pa.C.S. § 316(2.1) (relating to short form certificates) provided the attorney taking the acknowledgment does not act as one of the two witnesses required by this paragraph.
(c) Notice.--All powers of attorney shall include the following notice in capital letters at the beginning of the power of attorney. The notice shall be signed by the principal. In the absence of a signed notice, upon a challenge to the authority of an agent to exercise a power under the power of attorney, the agent shall have the burden of demonstrating that the exercise of this authority is proper.
The purpose of this power of attorney is to give the person you designate (your "agent") broad powers to handle your property, which may include powers to sell or otherwise dispose of any real or personal property without advance notice to you or approval by you.
This power of attorney does not impose a duty on your agent to exercise granted powers, but, when powers are exercised, your agent must use due care to act for your benefit and in accordance with this power of attorney.
Your agent may exercise the powers given here throughout your lifetime, even after you become incapacitated, unless you expressly limit the duration of these powers or you revoke these powers or a court acting on your behalf terminates your agent's authority.
Your agent must act in accordance with your reasonable expectations to the extent actually known by your agent and, otherwise, in your best interest, act in good faith and act only within the scope of authority granted by you in the power of attorney.
The law permits you, if you choose, to grant broad authority to an agent under power of attorney, including the ability to give away all of your property while you are alive or to substantially change how your property is distributed at your death. Before signing this document, you should seek the advice of an attorney at law to make sure you understand it.
A court can take away the powers of your agent if it finds your agent is not acting properly.
The powers and duties of an agent under a power of attorney are explained more fully in 20 Pa.C.S. Ch. 56.
If there is anything about this form that you do not understand, you should ask a lawyer of your own choosing to explain it to you.
I have read or had explained to me this notice and I understand its contents.
(d) Acknowledgment executed by agent.--An agent shall have no authority to act as agent under the power of attorney unless the agent has first executed and affixed to the power of attorney an acknowledgment in substantially the following form:
, have read the attached power of
attorney and am the person identified as the agent for the principal. I hereby acknowledge that when I act as agent:
I shall act in accordance with the principal's reasonable expectations to the extent actually known by me and, otherwise, in the principal's best interest, act in good faith and act only within the scope of authority granted to me by the principal in the power of attorney.
(e) Fiduciary relationship.--(Deleted by amendment).
(e.1) Limitation on applicability generally.--
(1) (Deleted by amendment).
(1.1) Subsections (b)(3), (c) and (d) and section 5601.3 (relating to agent's duties) do not apply to:
(i) A power contained in an instrument used in a commercial transaction which authorizes an agency relationship.
(ii) A power to the extent it is coupled with an interest in the subject of the power, including a power given to or for the benefit of a creditor in connection with a loan or other credit transaction.
(iii) A power exclusively granted to facilitate transfer of stock, bonds and other assets.
(iv) A power:
(A) contained in the governing document for a corporation, partnership or limited liability company or other legal entity;
(B) authorized by the law that governs the internal affairs of a legal entity;
(C) by which a director, shareholder, partner, member or manager authorizes others to do things on behalf of the entity; or
(D) contained in a proxy or other delegation to exercise voting rights or management rights with respect to a legal entity.
(v) A warrant of attorney conferring authority to confess judgment.
(vi) A power given to a dealer as defined by the act of December 22, 1983 (P.L.306, No.84), known as the Board of Vehicles Act, when using the power in conjunction with a sale, purchase or transfer of a vehicle as authorized by 75 Pa.C.S. § 1119 (relating to application for certificate of title by agent).
(vii) A power created on a form prescribed by a Commonwealth agency, political subdivision or an authority or instrumentality of the Commonwealth or a political subdivision.
(2) Powers and powers of attorney exempted by this subsection need not be dated.
(3) Powers of attorney exempted by this subsection which are recorded in the office for the recorder of deeds under section 5602(c) shall be acknowledged before recording.
(e.2) Limitation on applicability in health care and mental health care powers of attorney.--Subsections (b)(3)(i), (c) and (d) and section 5601.3 do not apply to a power of attorney which exclusively provides for health care decision making or mental health care decision making.
(f) Definitions.--The following words and phrases when used in this chapter shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
"Agent." A person designated by a principal in a power of attorney to act on behalf of that principal.
"Good faith." Honesty in fact.
(Dec. 16, 1992, P.L.1163, No.152, eff. imd.; Oct. 12, 1999, P.L.422, No.39; May 16, 2002, P.L.330, No.50, eff. Apr. 12, 2000; Nov. 25, 2003, P.L.211, No.36, eff. 60 days; July 2, 2014, P.L.855, No.95; July 8, 2016, P.L.497, No.79, eff. Jan. 1, 2017; Oct. 4, 2016, P.L.867, No.103, eff. imd.)
2016 Amendments. Act 79 amended subsec. (b)(3) and Act 103 amended subsecs. (b)(3), (e.1) and (e.2), retroactive to January 1, 2015. The amendments of subsec. (b)(3) by Acts 79 and 103 do not conflict in substance and, under the provisions of 1 Pa.C.S. § 1954, have been merged in setting forth the text of subsec. (b)(3). See section 21 of Act 79 in the appendix to this title for special provisions relating to applicability.
2014 Amendment. Act 95 amended subsecs. (b), (c), (d), (e.1), (e.2) and (f) and deleted subsec. (e), effective immediately as to subsec. (f) and January 1, 2015, as to the remainder of the section. See section 9 of Act 95 in the appendix to this title for special provisions relating to application of law.
2002 Amendment. See section 14(a) of Act 50 in the appendix to this title for special provisions relating to applicability.
1999 Amendment. Act 39 amended the entire section, effective in six months as to subsecs. (c) and (d) and 60 days as to the remainder of the section. See section 13(1), (2), (3) and (8) of Act 39 in the appendix to this title for special provisions relating to applicability.
Cross References. Section 5601 is referred to in sections 5608.1, 5843 of this title.