On July 2, 2014, the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania enacted Act 95 which amends Title 20 (Decedents, Estates and Fiduciaries) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes. Act 95, amongst other modifications, provides for the form of power of attorney, for the implementation of the power of attorney and for liability, and provides validity to the power of attorney.

Act 95 became effective on January 1, 2015 and affects all instruments used in commercial transactions which include a clause to confess judgment. Specifically, Act 95 states that for instruments used in commercial transactions that include a warrant of attorney conferring authority to confess judgment, such instrument must be “acknowledged before a notary public or other individual authorized by law to take acknowledgments.”

The customary documents which typically incorporate a warrant of attorney conferring authority to confess judgment include, but are not limited to, promissory notes, mortgages, guaranty agreements and commercial lease agreements. In layman’s terms, if documents that incorporate a confession of judgment clause are not notarized, the warrants of attorney to confess judgment will not be enforceable.

Prior to Act 95, it was generally the practice of Pennsylvania practitioners to only require that documents be notarized when they were to be recorded in the public records. However, as a result of the provision of Act 95, moving forward, ALL instruments used in commercial transactions which contain a confession of judgment provision and/or “attorney-in-fact” provision should now be acknowledged before a notary. Additionally, it is also prudent to have all amendment and modification documents which reinstate a confession of judgment provision to be acknowledged before a notary public.

Please contact Daniel Levine, Esquire at dlevine@astorwiess.com if you have any questions regarding Title 20 or Act 95. Daniel Levine can also be contacted if you require the services of a real estate attorney. Philadelphia residents and those in the surrounding areas can seek legal counsel from the lawyers at Astor Weiss Kaplan & Mandel, LLP. Visit the website at http://www.astorweiss.com/ to learn more about each lawyer and their respective practice areas. Astor Weiss Kaplan & Mandel, LLP attorneys have many years of valuable experience to help clients with any of their legal issues.