Estate Planning/Probate/Oct 22, 2012

New Durable Power of Attorney Requirements in Effect 10/1/2012

In May 2012, the governor signed into law an updated statute addressing durable power of attorney – MCL 700.5501. This created several new requirements for a general durable power of attorney (DPOA) in Michigan. A significant new requirement that must be included in all DPOAs compels all those who act as agents under a DPOA to first sign an acceptance. The required language is included in the statute itself – MCL 700.5501(4).

Another change is that the DPOA must be signed, dated and either witnessed by two (2) individuals who are not the named attorney-in-fact, or acknowledged by a notary.

Agents are also required to maintain a record of all transactions on behalf of the principal and may not make him/herself a joint owner on any asset or even make a gift of any of the principal’s assets, unless provided for in the DPOA or pursuant to a judicial order.

The new requirements took effect October 1, 2012. There are several exceptions to the requirements (see listed under MCL 700.5501(7)) including POAs given for primarily a business or commercial purpose and DPOAs completed prior to October 1, 2012, but the new requirements should certainly be discussed with your attorney when reviewing your estate plan.