For Immediate Release
On Monday, March 18, 2013, the Pennsylvania Senate passed two of Senator Greenleaf’s bills. SB 620 proposes changes to Pennsylvania’s powers of attorney law to help protect against elder abuse, and SB 99 would consolidate Pennsylvania’s administrative procedure laws to make them more accessible and readable for the public.
SB 620 would give courts more power to act if financial abuse is suspected of those who hold power of attorney. It would require the signature of those granting power of attorney to be acknowledged in the presence of a notary public. In addition, the bill provides for a notification of the consequences of powers of attorney be issued to those granting someone power of attorney.
The legislation would protect third parties from liability by ensuring that powers of attorney are legitimately executed. The legislation provides greater protection to principals in the position of naming someone to handle their affairs.
The Senator said, “Many cases of elder financial abuse involve family members or caregivers who hold power of attorney or have access to the person’s assets. Without making the process of gaining power of attorney too burdensome, this legislation would provide significantly more protection against those who are seeking to defraud the elderly. Recent cases in Pennsylvania have demonstrated the need for more oversight for those who are being given power of attorney. The elderly are highly vulnerable in these situations, and are too often taken advantage of.”
SB 99 would provide for the consolidation of statutes relating to administrative procedure and the handling of official state documents. These include subjects such as filing of documents for publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin and in the Pennsylvania Code; the Attorney General’s review of proposed regulations; the Office of the Budget’s preparation of fiscal notes for regulatory actions; and the Independent Regulatory Review Commission and regulatory review process.
Consolidation is the process of bringing all the laws on a particular subject together in a concise and coordinated fashion. The use of a consistent style and common definitions for words and phrases makes the law more readable. It is easier for the public to access, understand, read and research a well-organized and written body of statutory laws. In the future, if there are substantive changes to this area of law, they can be made to one title instead various statutes.
Pennsylvania remains the only state that has not completely consolidated its laws.
SB 620 and SB 99 will now be considered by the House of Representatives.