Powers of attorney are used by a grantor to vest decision-making authority in another person for a variety of reasons. Powers of attorney are often used in estate planning, real estate transactions, and business enterprises. If you rely on others to act on your behalf or in your name with regard to your property or investments, consider a new or revised power of attorney that will bring your relationship with your current agent into accord with the new North Carolina Uniform Power of Attorney Act (the “NCUPOAA”), which took effect on January 1, 2018.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Agency: The new legislation changes what attorneys-in-fact are called. Attorneys-in-fact will simply be called “agents” moving forward. This change is aimed at reducing confusion between attorneys and attorneys-in-fact for lay persons (N.C.G.S. § 32C-1-101).

Relief: The NCUPOAA acts more like guardianship laws in providing further options for relief in the event an agent abuses his or her power. The Act allows grantors of a power of attorney, guardians, personal representatives of deceased persons, health care agents, or the agent or other interested persons to go to court to compel an accounting, determine the agent’s powers or authority, terminate the power of attorney, and more (N.C.G.S. § 32C-1-116).

Durability: The Act changes the law such that powers of attorney are now durable by default, meaning the agency power “endures” past the point of the incompetence of the grantor. New form powers of attorney will not feature special language making powers of attorney durable; powers of attorney will be durable unless otherwise stated (N.C.G.S. § 32C-1-104).

Rest assured that powers of attorney executed prior to the effective date of the new law will continue to operate effectively. Moving forward, however, powers of attorney should be drafted and executed according to the new law. If you are concerned about the impact of the NCUPOAA on your current plans, please give us a call to discuss whether you need to update your powers of attorney. Adopting powers of attorney under the new language may reduce confusion or conflict regarding the new law.

To discuss any Power of Attorney issues, please contact Blaydes Moore.