July 13, 2012

Powers of Attorney

A CURRENT AND COMPREHENSIVE DURABLE POWERS OF ATTORNEY is the most important legal document an elder needs. You can name a trusted person to act for you and protect your financial interests without bearing the costly and time consuming anguish of a petition for guardianship if you become incapacitated. Most existing power of attorney documents that we have reviewed are not up to date with current tax and long-term care law. “Durable” means it is effective even though you later become disabled or incapacitated. Thus, a durable power of attorney can avoid need for a court appointed guardianship.

MARYLAND SIGNIFICANTLY CHANGED its power of attorney law in 2010. If you have a Maryland power of attorney that was drafted prior to 2010, the document may be missing crucial language to permit your agent to protect assets.

The Importance of a Power of Attorney Document

A POWER OF ATTORNEY IS A WRITTEN DOCUMENT in which you appoint another person to act on your behalf (as your attorney in fact) if you are in circumstances where you cannot act for yourself. The power of attorney allows your agent to conduct banking transactions and with proper language, to protect your assets if you require long-term care in an assisted living or nursing home. The party you select has a fiduciary duty to preserve and protect your assets, enforceable by a court.