2019 Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes
Title 20 - DECEDENTS, ESTATES AND FIDUCIARIES
Chapter 56 - Powers of Attorney
Section 5603 - Implementation of power of attorney
(a) Power to make limited gifts.--(Deleted by amendment).
(a.1) Power to make limited gifts.--(Deleted by amendment).
(b) Power to create a trust.--A power "to create a trust for my benefit" shall mean that the agent may execute a deed of trust, designating one or more persons (including the agent) as original or successor trustees and transfer to the trust any or all property owned by the principal as the agent may decide, subject to the following conditions:
(1) The income and corpus of the trust shall either be distributable to the principal or to the guardian of his estate, or be applied for the principal's benefit, and upon the principal's death, any remaining balance of corpus and unexpended income of the trust shall be distributed to the deceased principal's estate.
(2) The deed of trust may be amended or revoked at any time and from time to time, in whole or in part, by the principal or the agent, provided that any such amendment by the agent shall not include any provision which could not be included in the original deed.
(c) Power to make additions to an existing trust.--A power "to make additions to an existing trust for my benefit" shall mean that the agent, at any time or times, may add any or all of the property owned by the principal to any trust in existence when the power was created, provided that the terms of such trust relating to the disposition of the income and corpus during the lifetime of the principal are the same as those set forth in subsection (b). The agent and the trust and its beneficiaries shall be answerable as equity and justice may require to the extent that an addition to a trust is inconsistent with prudent estate planning or financial management for the principal or with the known or probable intent of the principal with respect to disposition of his estate.
(d) Power to claim an elective share.--A power "to claim an elective share of the estate of my deceased spouse" shall mean that the agent may elect to take against the will and conveyances of the principal's deceased spouse, disclaim any interest in property which the principal is required to disclaim as a result of such election, retain any property which the principal has the right to elect to retain, file petitions pertaining to the election, including petitions to extend the time for electing and petitions for orders, decrees and judgments in accordance with section 2211(c) and (d) (relating to determination of effect of election; enforcement), and take all other actions which the agent deems appropriate in order to effectuate the election: Provided, however, That the election shall be made only upon the approval of the court having jurisdiction of the principal's estate in accordance with section 2206 (relating to right of election personal to surviving spouse) in the case of a principal who is an incapacitated person, or upon the approval of the court having jurisdiction of the deceased spouse's estate in the case of a principal who is not an incapacitated person.
(e) Power to disclaim any interest in property.--(Deleted by amendment).
(f) Power to renounce fiduciary position.--
(1) A power "to renounce fiduciary positions" shall mean that the agent may:
(i) renounce any fiduciary position to which the principal has been appointed; and
(ii) resign any fiduciary position in which the principal is then serving, and either file an accounting with a court of competent jurisdiction or settle on receipt and release or other informal method as the agent deems advisable.
(2) The term "fiduciary" shall be deemed to include, without limitation, an executor, administrator, trustee, guardian, agent or officer or director of a corporation.
(g) Power to withdraw and receive.--A power "to withdraw and receive the income or corpus of a trust" shall mean that the agent may:
(1) demand, withdraw and receive the income or corpus of any trust over which the principal has the power to make withdrawals;
(2) request and receive the income or corpus of any trust with respect to which the trustee thereof has the discretionary power to make distribution to or on behalf of the principal; and
(3) execute a receipt and release or similar document for the property received under paragraphs (1) and (2).
(h) Power to authorize admission to medical facility and power to authorize medical procedures.--(Deleted by amendment).
(i) Power to engage in real property transactions.--A power to "engage in real property transactions" shall mean that the agent may:
(1) Acquire or dispose of real property (including the principal's residence) or any interest therein, including, but not limited to, the power to buy or sell at public or private sale for cash or credit or partly for each; exchange, mortgage, encumber, lease for any period of time; give or acquire options for sales, purchases, exchanges or leases; buy at judicial sale any property on which the principal holds a mortgage.
(2) Manage, repair, improve, maintain, restore, alter, build, protect or insure real property; demolish structures or develop real estate or any interest in real estate.
(3) Collect rent, sale proceeds and earnings from real estate; pay, contest, protest and compromise real estate taxes and assessments.
(4) Release in whole or in part, assign the whole or a part of, satisfy in whole or in part and enforce any mortgage, encumbrance, lien or other claim to real property.
(5) Grant easements, dedicate real estate, partition and subdivide real estate and file plans, applications or other documents in connection therewith.
(6) In general, exercise all powers with respect to real property that the principal could if present.
(j) Power to engage in tangible personal property transactions.--A power to "engage in tangible personal property transactions" shall mean that the agent may:
(1) Buy, sell, lease, exchange, collect, possess and take title to tangible personal property.
(2) Move, store, ship, restore, maintain, repair, improve, manage, preserve and insure tangible personal property.
(3) In general, exercise all powers with respect to tangible personal property that the principal could if present.
(k) Power to engage in stock, bond and other securities transactions.--A power to "engage in stock, bond and other securities transactions" shall mean that the agent may:
(1) Buy or sell (including short sales) at public or private sale for cash or credit or partly for cash all types of stocks, bonds and securities; exchange, transfer, hypothecate, pledge or otherwise dispose of any stock, bond or other security.
(2) Collect dividends, interest and other distributions.
(3) Vote in person or by proxy, with or without power of substitution, either discretionary, general or otherwise, at any meeting.
(4) Join in any merger, reorganization, consolidation, dissolution, liquidation, voting-trust plan or other concerted action of security holders and make payments in connection therewith.
(5) Hold any evidence of the ownership of any stock, bond or other security belonging to the principal in the name of a nominee selected by the agent.
(6) Deposit or arrange for the deposit of securities in a clearing corporation as defined in Division 8 of Title 13 (relating to investment securities).
(7) Receive, hold or transfer securities in book-entry form.
(8) In general, exercise all powers with respect to stocks, bonds and securities that the principal could if present.
(l) Power to engage in commodity and option transactions.--A power to "engage in commodity and option transactions" shall mean that the agent may:
(1) Buy, sell, exchange, assign, convey, settle and exercise commodities future contracts and call and put options on stocks and stock indices traded on a regulated options exchange and collect and receipt for all proceeds of any such transactions.
(2) Establish or continue option accounts for the principal with any securities of a futures broker.
(3) In general, exercise all powers with respect to commodity and option transactions that the principal could if present.
(m) Power to engage in banking and financial transactions.--A power to "engage in banking and financial transactions" shall mean that the agent may:
(1) Sign checks, drafts, orders, notes, bills of exchange and other instruments ("items") or otherwise make withdrawals from checking, savings, transaction, deposit, loan or other accounts in the name of the principal and endorse items payable to the principal and receive the proceeds in cash or otherwise.
(2) Open and close such accounts in the name of the principal, purchase and redeem savings certificates, certificates of deposit or similar instruments in the name of the principal and execute and deliver receipts for any funds withdrawn or certificates redeemed.
(3) Deposit any funds received for the principal in accounts of the principal.
(4) Do all acts regarding checking, savings, transaction, deposit, loan or other accounts, savings certificates, certificates of deposit or similar instruments, the same as the principal could do if personally present.
(5) Sign any tax information or reporting form required by Federal, State or local taxing authorities, including, but not limited to, any Form W-9 or similar form.
(6) In general, transact any business with a banking or financial institution that the principal could if present.
(n) Power to borrow money.--A power to "borrow money" shall mean that the agent may borrow money and pledge or mortgage any properties that the principal owns as a security therefor.
(o) Power to enter safe deposit boxes.--A power to "enter safe deposit boxes" shall mean that the agent may enter any safe deposit box in the name of the principal; add to or remove the contents of such box, open and close safe deposit boxes in the name of the principal; however, the agent shall not deposit or keep in any safe deposit box of the principal any property in which the agent has a personal interest.
(p) Power to engage in insurance and annuity transactions.--A power to "engage in insurance and annuity transactions" shall mean that the agent may:
(1) Purchase, continue, renew, convert or terminate any type of insurance (including, but not limited to, life, accident, health, disability or liability insurance) or annuity and pay premiums and collect benefits and proceeds under insurance policies and annuity contracts.
(2) Exercise nonforfeiture provisions under insurance policies and annuity contracts.
(3) In general, exercise all powers with respect to insurance and annuities that the principal could if present, provided, however, that the agent shall have no power to create or change a beneficiary designation unless authorized in accordance with section 5601.4 (relating to authority that requires specific and general grant of authority).
(q) Power to engage in retirement plan transactions.--A power to "engage in retirement plan transactions" shall mean that the agent may contribute to, withdraw from and deposit funds in any type of retirement plan (including, but not limited to, any tax qualified or nonqualified pension, profit sharing, stock bonus, employee savings and retirement plan, deferred compensation plan or individual retirement account), select and change payment options for the principal, make roll-over contributions from any retirement plan to other retirement plans and, in general, exercise all powers with respect to retirement plans that the principal could if present, provided, however, that the agent shall have no power to create or change a beneficiary designation unless authorized in accordance with section 5601.4.
(r) Power to handle interests in estates and trusts.--A power to "handle interests in estates and trusts" shall mean that the agent may receive a bequest, devise, gift or other transfer of real or personal property to the principal in the principal's own right or as a fiduciary for another and give full receipt and acquittance therefor or a refunding bond therefor; approve accounts of any estate, trust, partnership or other transaction in which the principal may have an interest; enter into any compromise and release in regard thereto; and receive on behalf of the principal all notices and reports required by section 7780.3 (relating to duty to inform and report) or permitted by section 7785(a) (relating to limitation of action against trustee).
(s) Power to pursue claims and litigation.--A power to "pursue claims and litigation" shall mean that the agent may:
(1) Institute, prosecute, defend, abandon, arbitrate, compromise, settle or otherwise dispose of, and appear for the principal in, any legal proceedings before any tribunal regarding any claim relating to the principal or to any property interest of the principal.
(2) Collect and receipt for any claim or settlement proceeds; waive or release rights of the principal; employ and discharge attorneys and others on such terms (including contingent fee arrangements) as the agent deems appropriate.
(3) In general, exercise all powers with respect to claims and litigation that the principal could if present.
(t) Power to receive government benefits.--A power to "receive government benefits" shall mean that the agent may prepare, sign and file any claim or application for Social Security, unemployment, military service or other government benefits; collect and receipt for all government benefits or assistance; and, in general, exercise all powers with respect to government benefits that the principal could if present.
(u) Power to pursue tax matters.--A power to "pursue tax matters" shall mean that the agent may:
(1) Prepare, sign, verify and file any tax return on behalf of the principal, including, but not limited to, joint returns and declarations of estimated tax; examine and copy all the principal's tax returns and tax records.
(2) Sign an Internal Revenue Service power of attorney form.
(3) Represent the principal before any taxing authority; protest and litigate tax assessments; claim, sue for and collect tax refunds; waive rights and sign all documents required to settle, pay and determine tax liabilities; sign waivers extending the period of time for the assessment of taxes or tax deficiencies.
(4) In general, exercise all powers with respect to tax matters that the principal could if present.
(u.1) Power to make anatomical gift.--(Deleted by amendment).
(u.2) Power to operate a business or entity.--A power "to operate a business or entity" shall mean that the agent may:
(1) Continue or participate in the operation of any business or other entity in which the principal holds an interest, whether alone or with others, by making and implementing decisions regarding its financing, operations, employees and all other matters pertinent to the business or entity.
(2) Change the form of ownership of the business or entity to a corporation, partnership, limited liability company or other entity, and initiate or take part in a corporate reorganization, including a merger, consolidation, dissolution or other change in organizational form.
(3) Compensate an agent actively managing, supervising or engaging in the operation of a business or entity, as appropriate, from the principal's assets or from the business or entity, provided that the compensation is reasonably based upon the actual responsibilities assumed and performed.
(4) In general, exercise all powers with respect to operating a business or entity that the principal could if present.
(u.3) Power to provide for personal and family maintenance.--
(1) A power "to provide for personal and family maintenance" shall mean that the agent may provide for the health, education, maintenance and support, in order to maintain the customary standard of living of the principal's spouse and the following individuals, whether living when the power of attorney is executed or later born:
(i) The principal's minor children.
(ii) Other individuals legally entitled to be supported by the principal.
(iii) The individuals whom the principal has customarily supported and intends to support.
(2) In acting under this subsection, the agent shall:
(i) Take into account the long-term needs of the principal.
(ii) Consider any independent means available to those individuals apart from the support provided by the principal.
(3) Authority with respect to personal and family maintenance is in addition to and not limited by authority that an agent may or may not have with respect to gifts under this chapter.
(v) Powers generally.--
(1) All powers described in this section shall be exercisable with respect to any matter in which the principal is in any way interested at the giving of the power of attorney or thereafter and whether arising in this Commonwealth or elsewhere.
(2) A principal may, in a power of attorney, modify any power described in this section.
(April 16, 1992, P.L.108, No.24, eff. 60 days; Dec. 16, 1992, P.L.1163, No.152, eff. imd.; Dec. 1, 1994, P.L.655, No.102, eff. 90 days; Oct. 12, 1999, P.L.422, No.39, eff. 60 days; Oct. 27, 2010, P.L.837, No.85, eff. 60 days; July 2, 2014, P.L.855, No.95, eff. Jan. 1, 2015; 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 subsecs. (d) and (r), added subsecs. (u.2) and (u.3) and deleted subsecs. (a.1), (h) and (u.1) and Act 103 amended subsec. (d), retroactive to January 1, 2015. The amendments of subsec. (d) 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. (d). Section 21(2)(ii) of Act 79 provided that the amendment of subsec. (r) shall apply to all powers of attorney executed before, on or after the effective date of section 21(2)(ii).
2014 Amendment. Act 95 amended subsecs. (k)(4), (p), (q) and (v), added subsec. (a.1) and deleted subsecs. (a) and (e). See section 9 of Act 95 in the appendix to this title for special provisions relating to application of law.
Cross References. Section 5603 is referred to in sections 2206, 5602 of this title.