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Washington’s new Uniform Power of Attorney Act (UPAA) will repeal and replace the current Power of Attorney Act, effective January 1, 2017. While an existing power of attorney document (POA) that was valid when executed will remain valid, all new POAs executed in Washington after January 1, will be valid only if they comply with the execution requirements of the new law. Below is a summary of some of the most significant provisions of the Washington UPAA from the perspective of long term care providers.
A. Execution Requirements and Requirements Governing the Use of POAs. Under the Washington UPAA, a POA must be signed and dated by the principal, and the signature must either: (a) be acknowledged before a notary or (b) be attested to by two or more disinterested witnesses. Home care providers, care providers at an adult family home or long-term care facility in which the principal resides, and individuals related to the principal by blood or marriage are not considered disinterested witnesses. Here are some other important rules about use of a POA:
B. Termination of a POA. Under the Washington UPAA, a POA terminates upon the happening of the following events:
The agent’s authority under a POA terminates when:
In addition, if a court appoints a guardian of the principal’s estate or other fiduciary charged with management of all of the principal’s property, then the POA is terminated, unless the court provides otherwise. Note, however, if a limited guardian or fiduciary is appointed, the POA will not be terminated or modified, except to the extent ordered by the court.
An existing POA is not revoked or terminated upon the execution of a new POA unless the new POA expressly revokes the prior POA.
C. Obligations Upon Presentation of a POA. The Washington UPAA provides that if you are asked to accept an acknowledged POA, you may, within seven days of its presentation, request an agent’s certification, using a certification form that is part of the statute, and must accept the POA within five days of having received the statutory certification (or language translation, if necessary), unless you believe in good faith that the POA is not valid or that the agent is acting outside of his or her authority.
You may refuse to accept a POA if you make, or have actual knowledge that another person has made, a report to APS stating a good faith belief that the principal may be subject to physical or financial abuse, neglect, exploitation, or abandonment by the agent or a person acting for or with the agent. However, you may not insist on a certain form of POA, nor can you refuse to accept a POA simply because you believe it is too old. Wrongful refusal to accept a POA can result in the agent obtaining a court order requiring you to accept the POA, along with your being ordered to pay the agent’s attorney’s fees for having had to seek the court order.
You are protected when you reasonably rely on an acknowledged POA in good faith without actual knowledge that it is void, invalid or terminated or that it is being misused by the agent.
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