How Does Power of Attorney Work in Maryland?

You may have heard the term “power of attorney” on television, but what does it actually mean?  If you find yourself in the position where you may need to trust someone with the most important decisions in your life, you may have questions about what goes into a power of attorney.

In Maryland, people use power of attorney to provide others with the ability to make decisions for their financial and medical well-being if they believe that they may lose the ability to make those decisions themselves. The abilities (and responsibilities) that accompany a power of attorney in Maryland depend on the language in the document. Because this language is so important, you should always consult with an attorney when preparing a power of attorney.

Planning for your future is a responsible and commendable undertaking. You deserve stable, experienced assistance when preparing such an important document. The reliable Maryland personal injury attorneys at Rice, Murtha & Psoras can sit down with you at no expense to discuss what arrangement fits your situation best. You can reach us at (410) 694-7291 to schedule an appointment today.

What is Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney is a document that gives one person (the “agent”) the legal authority to act and make decisions on behalf of another person (the “principal”). This legal tool is most commonly employed when a person is unable to manage their own affairs because of a medical condition.

The language of the actual document must be sufficiently clear to define the powers that the agent has. Therefore, we strongly suggest that you use experienced legal counsel if you are planning to create a power of attorney in Maryland.

Types of Powers of Attorney in Maryland

If you are considering creating a power of attorney in Maryland, your reasoning will impact how you go about it. This is because there are several forms of powers of attorney.

The Ocean City personal injury attorneys at Rice, Murtha & Psoras can help you determine which of these strategies is right for you. To start, you will need to determine whether you need a general or limited power of attorney.

You will then want to make sure that your power of attorney is “durable.” A durable power of attorney will remain in effect indefinitely unless terminated, even if you become incapacitated.

General Power of Attorney

A general power of attorney gives the agent power to act for the principal in all business and personal matters. An agent with general power of attorney may manage the principal’s financial dealings, such as bank accounts, investments, and safe deposit boxes.

The agent may also buy and sell real estate, file and settle lawsuits and enter into contracts on behalf of the principal. Additionally, a general power of attorney allows for the agent to make decisions about the principal’s medical treatment.

Limited Power of Attorney

In a limited power of attorney, the agent only has as many abilities as are included in the power of attorney document. Typically, limited power of attorney is utilized when the agent should have control over the principal’s personal or healthcare decisions if they are or will become incapacitated due to their condition.

In limited power of attorney situations, the language of the creating document is extremely important. If it is too specific, the agent may be unable to act as they were intended. If the language is too vague or broad, the validity of the power of attorney may be called into question.

Advance Directive (Medical Power of Attorney)

If you would like your power of attorney to address medical decisions in Maryland specifically, you will need an advance directive. To ensure that your power of attorney document meets these requirements, you will have to complete the state’s official form, co-signed by two witnesses.

How to Create a Power of Attorney in Maryland

In order to create a power of attorney in Maryland in the first place, the principal must be at least 18 years of age and capable of understanding the purpose and effect of the document.

To take effect, a power of attorney must be written and signed by the principal and at least two witnesses. This must be done in the presence of a notary public. The notary public may serve as one of the two witnesses.

Power of attorney may be executed electronically, but only if additional requirements are met. For instance, the principal and witnesses must be in each other’s physical presence, accompanied by an attorney, and must sign the same “document.” the principal must either physically be in the State of Maryland or a resident of Maryland, and the witnesses must be both United States residents and physically within the country at the time of signing. The notary must be authorized by the state to operate remotely.

If not explicitly stated otherwise, the power of attorney goes into effect as soon as it is signed. However, some may elect to use a “springing” power of attorney, which only takes effect upon some identified event (such as the principal becoming incapacitated).

A springing power of attorney should contain language detailing who decides when the event has occurred. If it does not, the decision is left in the hands of a doctor or judge.

Does Someone with Power of Attorney Get Paid?

Agents who have power of attorney have the ability to reimburse themselves for reasonable expenses incurred while carrying out their duties. However, they do not have the right to payment.

The power of attorney document can set out a payment structure, however, that allows the agent to be compensated for their work. This is particularly common where the power of attorney includes financial management responsibilities.

Do You Need to Be an Attorney to Have Power of Attorney?

No legal accreditation is required to serve as an agent with power of attorney. However, attorneys may be a good option as an agent, as they have a keen sense of the law around estate planning and an understanding of the powers.

Using a close family member or friend as a power of attorney can complicate a relationship or make important decisions more difficult.

Need Help Creating a Power of Attorney in Maryland?  Call Rice, Murtha & Psoras for Free

Our resourceful Annapolis personal injury attorneys will work with you to establish a plan that fits your specific needs. To hear about all of the various services that Rice, Murtha & Psoras can offer you, call us at (410) 694-7291 today.