Michigan Adopts the Uniform Power of Attorney Act

If you have executed a Power of Attorney (POA) to give a trusted individual the ability to access your financial accounts or sign documents on your behalf, whether in case of emergency or simply for convenience, or if you are thinking about doing so, a new law in Michigan impacts the way surrogate authority is granted. 

By executing a POA, you grant someone else important powers to act on your behalf. The person you appoint is called your “Agent.” A POA can be “Durable” or “Non-Durable.” A Durable POA can be particularly useful because, unlike a Non-Durable POA, your Agent’s authority to act on your behalf will not be terminated even if you are incapacitated. A new law in Michigan is designed to provide for increased accessibility, effectiveness, and standardization for POAs. 

The Uniform Power of Attorney Act (UPOAA) was signed into law by Governor Gretchen Whitmer on November 7, 2023, and will take effect on July 1, 2024. Given the increased mobility of the population and modernization of technology, the UPOAA codifies state legislative trends across the United States and creates a cohesive set of best practices for drafting and utilizing POAs. To date, a version of the UPOAA has been enacted in 31 states.

The UPOAA accomplishes several important objectives:

Given these sweeping changes promulgated by the UPOAA, it’s a good time to revisit your POA. The UPOAA applies to all POAs, even those executed prior to July 1, 2024. As long as your POA was validly executed at the time it was signed, your POA will remain valid – but you may want to confirm that your POA is notarized. Many individuals executed legal documents during the pandemic when it may have been difficult to obtain a notary. If your POA is not notarized, you may want to re-execute the document before a notary to garner the additional protections that the UPOAA provides to acknowledged POAs.

© 2024 Varnum LLP
National Law Review, Volumess XIII, Number 324