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The Virginia Uniform Power of Attorney Act

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The laws related to Durable Powers of Attorney (“DPA”) have largely evolved from the common law of agency and are steadily moving toward a statutory framework. The statutory law is moving from relatively short statutes amending the common law of agency to a comprehensive statutory framework supplemented by the common law.

The driving force behind this trend is the desire for increased acceptance and use of DPAs. However, DPAs are still relatively new legal tools. Case law and statutory laws regarding their interpretation and construction continue to develop and vary from state to state. The Uniform Power of Attorney Act (“UPOAA”) was promulgated in 2006 by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (“NCCUSL”) in an attempt to bring uniformity to this area of the law which is rapidly emerging as a significant, if not vital, estate planning tool. A UPOAA bill was introduced into the Virginia General Assembly in January 2009 and was enacted with a re-enactment provision that requires the UPOAA to be re-enacted in the 2010 session in order to become effective.

The UPOAA was reintroduced during the 2010 Session of the General Assembly in both the House of Delegates (House Bill 719; “HB 719″) and the Senate (Senate Bill 159; “SB 159″ and Senate Bill 204; “SB 204″). As of the date of this outline, HB 719 has passed in both the House of Delegates and the Senate has been signed by the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate. The Governor is expected to sign the bill within the next few weeks.

This outline is based upon the article, “The Virginia Uniform Power of Attorney Act,” published in the University of Richmond Law Review, 44 U. Rich. L. Rev. (2009).

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