Understanding the Different Types of Powers of Attorney in Pennsylvania and Recent Law Changes

Explore the various types of Powers of Attorney in Pennsylvania, including legal changes, with Ament Insight. Ensure your POA aligns with current laws and needs.



12/1/20232 min read

a pair of glasses on a table
a pair of glasses on a table

Powers of Attorney (POAs) are vital legal documents that grant one person the authority to act on behalf of another. In Pennsylvania, understanding the various types of POAs and recent legal changes is crucial for effective estate and personal planning. Here’s an overview of the different POAs and the significance of the recent legal updates in PA.

Types of Powers of Attorney:

1. General Power of Attorney: This grants broad powers to the agent to handle financial and business matters. However, it becomes void if the principal becomes incapacitated.

2. Limited Power of Attorney: As the name suggests, this gives the agent authority to act in specific situations, like selling a property or managing a particular bank account.

3. Durable Power of Attorney: Unlike a general POA, a durable POA remains in effect even if the principal becomes incapacitated. It's crucial for long-term planning.

4. Healthcare Power of Attorney: This type specifically allows the agent to make healthcare decisions on behalf of the principal if they are unable to do so themselves.

5. Springing Power of Attorney: This type of POA “springs” into effect upon the occurrence of a specific event, typically the incapacity of the principal. It ensures that the principal retains control until they are unable to make decisions.

6. Effective Immediately Power of Attorney: Contrary to a springing POA, this becomes effective as soon as it’s signed and notarized, allowing the agent to act immediately.

Recent Legal Changes in Pennsylvania:

Over the last few years, Pennsylvania has undergone significant changes in its POA laws to enhance protection against abuse and misunderstandings. These changes include:

- New Witness and Notarization Requirements: To increase the validity and reduce fraud, POAs now require notarization and witnessing by two individuals.

- Explicit Agent Duties: The law now clearly outlines the duties of an agent, emphasizing their responsibility to act in the principal’s best interest.

- Liability for Misuse: There are stricter penalties for agents who misuse their powers, ensuring better protection for the principal.

Why Reviewing Your POA is Crucial:

Given these changes, it's important for anyone with an existing POA in Pennsylvania to review and possibly update their documents. This ensures that they comply with the new laws and continue to reflect your current wishes and circumstances.


Powers of Attorney are essential tools in legal planning. Whether you’re considering a new POA or need to review an existing one, understanding the different types and recent legal updates in Pennsylvania is crucial. At Ament Law Group, we specialize in guiding you through these complexities, ensuring your POA aligns with your needs and complies with current laws. Contact us for expert assistance in securing your legal rights and future planning.