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New Gatto bill addresses power of attorney issues

July 29, 2011|By Mark Kellam, mark.kellam@latimes.com

A bill signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last week will help protect low-income seniors who use a state-authorized form to grant powers of attorney from falling prey to unscrupulous family members or strangers.

The bill, authored by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake), limits an agent’s power to undertake complex transactions, unless expressly granted in the power of attorney form.

The new law would also make the forms easier to use in an effort to encourage more people to take advantage of the low-cost option, which doesn’t require a lawyer.

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“Sometimes, it takes a couple of former attorneys to know how to improve the forms that people use to avoid having to employ an attorney,” Gatto said.

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